While divorce can be an emotionally devastating process for all involved parties, children are often the most susceptible to experiencing long-term effects. They can become angry, depressed, may struggle in school or at home, or may even develop behavioral issues. However, studies suggest that parents play an important role in their ability to cope during and after the divorce process. In fact, those who are able to successfully implement just a few important rules and techniques often find their children adjust rather well in the months and years following a divorce. The following information may be able to help your family do the same.
Never Place Your Child in the Middle
One of the biggest mistakes that parents make during the divorce process is that they put their child in the middle of the process. This is not usually an intentional decision or act, but it does not make it any less harmful to the child. Avoid this common pitfall by refusing to talk badly about your spouse in front of or around your child. Let them know they are loved – by both parents – and value their time with your ex-spouse. Smile when you drop them off, and welcome them home when they return. Also, do not let them skip out on visits with the other parent or give them more decision-making power than what may be considered appropriate for their age.
Communicate Effectively with Your Child
Communication is often critical for children during and after divorce. They need to be able to talk about their feelings, express confusion or anger, and ask important questions that may be bothering them. If you respond appropriately – or at least making an attempt at age-appropriate honesty – then you are likely doing it correctly. In contrast, if you find yourself belittling the other parent, discounting your child’s feelings, or failing to fully listen to them when they are trying to talk, you may want to take a step back and evaluate your own feelings. Do not judge yourself too harshly. After all, you are going through a very difficult time as well. Just try to remember that the divorce is a decision made by you and your spouse, but the fracturing of your family is something that your child may not fully understand.
Know When to Ask for Help
Whether it is going to see a therapist to deal with your own emotions, seeking a support group so you can focus on being there for your child, or talking to a child specialist about behavior or emotions in your child that are worrying you, it is important to know when to ask for help. This also applies when it comes to the actual divorce process. Though seemingly simple at first glance, it is a complex and emotionally exhausting legal matter that can have serious consequences if you make any missteps. Instead of trying to go it alone, ask an experienced divorce attorney for help.
At Sullivan Taylor, Gumina & Palmer, P.C., we know how important your family is to you. Our Naperville family law attorneys are committed to protecting your child’s best interests and we will make their needs, and the needs of your family as a whole, or top priority. Get the compassionate, comprehensive representation you need and deserve for your divorce. Call 630-665-7676 and schedule a consultation with us today.