Divorce is difficult for all members of the family, but it is an especially tough transition for kids. There are many things about adult relationships and divorce that they do not understand and in many cases, children believe they are responsible for their parents no longer wanting to be married. Thankfully, there are things parents can do to make the transition from a married to a divorced family smoother for kids.
How can you make your divorce easier on your children?
Encourage Children to Discuss their Feelings
Kids should feel safe sharing their feelings about the changes occurring in their family, even if those feelings are negative. When you speak to your child about the divorce, try not to judge or react harshly to anything he or she says. This can be tough if your child expresses blame toward you concerning the divorce, but allowing your child to be open and honest makes it easier for him or her to process the changes and can lead to a healthier relationship with you in the future.
Avoid Arguing in Front of the Children
Families often see the worst in each other, even when things are relatively rosy in a household. Unfortunately, when a situation deteriorates and divorce is imminent, it can be tough to create a healthy, pleasant environment in a home. It is important for parents to do all they can to avoid fighting in front of children. Kids need to feel as if their parents are still a team when it comes to parenting, even if they are no long tied through marriage. Research has even shown the single biggest factor in long-term adjustment for kids of divorce is how well parents are able to manage conflict and protect their children from it.
Anticipate Healthy Resistance
Even if your child adjusts to the idea of living in a different location or shuttling between two homes, he or she might occasionally act out. Understand this is normal behavior during the adjustment, but if it continues or becomes severe, you should not ignore it. Overreacting to misbehavior can be just as damaging as failing to take action when the behavior is out of control.
Understand that Professional Support Might be Necessary
Do not be ashamed or embarrassed to seek professional support for anyone in your family if he or she is having a tough time dealing with the divorce. Having the ability to speak to a trained professional can make the transition much easier for everyone.
Dr. G. Douglas Lunsford is a certified Circuit Civil and Family mediator. He has a background in psychology which allows him to bring a unique perspective to mediation sessions. For a faster yet more effective resolution of any civil or family dispute, contact Dr. Lunsford at 813-924-3853 or visit http://herschlaw.com/certified-mediation.html.