4 Ways to Put Your Kids First During a Divorce
Divorce is hard; there’s no way of getting around that fact. When kids are involved, the split can often be even more emotional, leaving many parents wondering what they can do to help their children through the difficult transition.
No matter what stage of divorce you’re in, these tips can help you and your most precious assets—your children—stay connected and emotionally balanced.
1. Keep all fighting in private.
One of the reasons many couples get divorced is because the fighting and disagreements never seem to end or get resolved. When the topic of divorce is broached, it’s normal to feel upset. However, if you feel like your emotions will turn into aggressive anger, make sure your children aren't present for that conversation. To protect the emotional health of your children, make sure all heated arguments are kept behind closed doors. This will help your children feel less anxious about the changes to the family dynamic and assure them that they can still trust you and your spouse.
2. Have an honest discussion about the upcoming changes.
When a child’s routine is disturbed, it can cause them to lash out, lose sleep, or develop anxiety. To prevent this from happening, you and your spouse should sit down with your kids and have an age-appropriate and open conversation about the changes that will happen once the divorce is finalized. Have a schedule worked out so they’ll feel secure in the homes of both parents. Try and keep their daily routines and rules/expectations the same at both houses. Consistency can help your children during the transition.
3. Allow your children to express themselves.
As parents, we often find ourselves censoring and correcting our children’s behavior. “Don’t call your sister names!” and “That’s your last warning!” come to mind. But during divorce, give your kids some space to express their emotions. That doesn't mean allowing them to be rude or disrespectful, but if they feel angry, sad, or confused, let them express those emotions in whatever words they can. Sometimes, it can be hard for kids to find the appropriate words for their feelings, so give them time and space to do so.
4. Don’t treat your children like friends.
Basically, this means don’t talk to or discuss things with your kids that would discuss with your adult friends. Trash-talking your spouse or seeking emotional support shouldn’t be directed at your children. While it’s okay to cry together and talk about your feelings, do so in a way that makes your child feel supported, not the other way around. Your children are already feeling like their foundation is being shaken, so to add any extra stress would be detrimental for your kids’ emotional well-being.
At the Law Office of Richard Roman Shum, you’ll receive personalized care during your divorce. As a father who has gone through the divorce process himself, Attorney Richard Shum will keep your children a priority during this stressful time. If you’d like to set up a consultation, contact us here.