According to the American Academy of Child Adolescent Psychiatry, one out of every two marriages will end in divorce.
Parents rightfully worry about their children in divorce and the affect it may have on their children. During this difficult period, parents are naturally preoccupied with the many aspects of the divorce and what it will mean for their future and the future of their children and at the same time, continue to be the most significant influence in the lives of their children.
Children are prone to worry and invariably, children in divorce experience it as traumatic.
As obvious as that seems, it is not always so obvious what to do for them, and how best to act on your natural concern for children in divorce. One of a child’s primary worries is his or her sense of security. In our Family Law practice, we regard children’s welfare and security as the highest priority and work with every client to understand what this will mean for each family individually.
Parental guidelines with children in divorce
Based on our experience over the past 25 years, we have developed this short list of parental guidelines:
- Give repeated reassurance to your children that this is not their fault.
- Listen to everything they want to tell you; children in divorce tend to feel they are being overlooked and the more you listen to them, the more they will feel reassured.
- Promote continuity as much as feasible, and minimize change. Keep as many of your daily and weekend activities on the same schedule as you can.
- Be accepting of changes in your child’s performance. School grades can sometimes suffer for children in divorce and at times, they just need patience getting through it.
- Never put your child or children between you and your former spouse; do not make the mistake of using them as a messenger or worse, as a way to get back at your spouse.
- Be only the one parent you can be—don’t make the mistake of trying to fill the role of your former spouse.
- Avoid conflict and arguments between you and your spouse when the children are there, and never criticize your spouse in front of your children.
- Be careful with promises and do everything feasible to do what you’ve said you will do; their confidence has been shaken and you wish to restore it as quickly as possible.