Tips to Help Your Child Through Divorce

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When a marriage ends, it doesn’t only affect the spouses who are parting ways. The impact of divorce on children can be significant. They may experience a wide range of emotions, including confusion, anger, anxiety, and sadness. However, there are several tips you can help your children cope during the divorce process to ensure they are happy, healthy, and thrive.

Talk with Your Children About Their Feelings

Divorce can be emotionally overwhelming for children. Take the time to talk with your children about how they feel about the divorce. You should let them know it’s ok for them to express their feelings and reassure them that the divorce isn’t their fault. Help your children identify their emotions and encourage them to be honest about their feelings.

Explain What Will and Won’t Change

Divorce can bring a lot of changes to a child’s daily life. When parents are going through a divorce, a child might feel that their security is threatened. Be honest with your children and explain what will change — and what won’t. While their parents will no longer be living together, you should reassure your children that both parents still love them unconditionally, and that will never change. Children should also know about the changes they can expect to their living arrangements and activities, but it’s important not to overwhelm them with adult problems.

Keep Your Child’s Routine and Schedule Intact

It’s critical to keep a child’s routine intact as much as possible. Keeping the same rules and schedule for bedtime, homework, chores, and dinner can maintain consistency in both households and ensure a child feels secure. Children of divorce thrive when they have a sense of predictability. The more stable a child’s routine, the less separation anxiety they will likely feel when they go between homes.

Don’t Speak Badly About the Other Parent

One of the best things you can do for your child is encourage them to have a healthy relationship with their other parent. Saying disparaging or negative things about the child’s other parent in front of them can increase a child’s stress levels and create feelings of guilt. It can also make a child feel like they need to defend the parent who is being bad-mouthed or choose one parent over the other. You should focus on being a good role model and avoid involving the children in any disputes you may have with your soon-to-be former spouse.

Create a Well-Drafted Parenting Plan

A good parenting plan should serve as a guide for how divorced parents will raise their children. It describes the duties of each parent, how parenting time should be divided, where children will spend holidays and school breaks, and provides a structure for sharing information. A wide variety of issues can be addressed in a parenting plan, including healthcare, education, religious upbringing, activities, and how custody exchanges or schedule changes should be handled. A well-drafted parenting plan can specify the rules that parents must follow to make sure they are on the same page and avoid potential litigation.

Communicate Directly with the Other Parent

It’s essential to communicate directly with the other parent. No matter how contentious your divorce is, children should not be used as messengers. Practice healthy communicating by keeping a professional, business-like tone with your former spouse. Try to stay focused on the topic about which you’re communicating and keep your emotions in check. If you can’t speak with the other parent without an argument arising, you might find email or text message to be a more effective means of communication. In some cases, it may be helpful to utilize a co-parenting or calendaring app to manage schedules, minimize conflict, and reduce the impact of divorce on children.

Consider Sharing Special Occasions Together

Special occasions like birthdays, school events, award ceremonies, and holidays can be hard on the children of divorce. Even if you do not get along with your ex, try to put your differences aside so the children can see both their parents at the important event. Remember, the event is about them — and the best interests of your children should always be first and foremost. However, if attending an event with your ex-spouse isn’t feasible due to the contention between you, a good compromise might be scheduling separate celebrations so you each get to spend time with the child.

Set Up a Co-Parenting Arrangement with Your Ex-Spouse

Co-parenting is the process in which two parents work together after divorce or separation to raise their children. This type of arrangement can have tremendous benefits for your children by providing comfort, stability, and security. Co-parenting can also eliminate tension between parents, demonstrate conflict resolution skills, and decrease a child’s stress. When parents co-parent create a unified front, they can maintain consistency, stability, and security to meet the best interests of their children.

Contact an Experienced North Carolina Divorce and Family Law Attorney

Divorce can be hard on everyone involved, especially children. But having the right family law attorney on your side can help to ease your emotional burden and ensure the best interests of your children are satisfied every step of the way. With offices located in Moyock and Elizabeth City, The Twiford Law Firm provides compassionate counsel for divorce, custody disputes, and a wide variety of family law matters throughout Northeastern North Carolina and the Outer Banks. Contact us today to schedule a consultation to learn how we can assist you.