In some divorces, it is the youngest members of the family who suffer the most. Not only are their parents ending their marriage, they may also have to move, see their parents for less time during the week and even change schools. The unknown and the changes that happen can lead to mental and emotional trauma. Thankfully, there are steps you can take that will help them through this difficult time.
One of your main goals as a parent may be to shield your kids from as much avoidable pain and upheaval as possible. Starting with how you tell your kids you are getting a divorce, you can take steps that will provide them with long-term stability and security from the very beginning. Your marriage may be over, but your role in the lives of your kids is more important than ever.
Before your divorce
Your kids will need to know about the divorce, and the way you tell them is important. While you can adjust your phrasing according to their ages and maturity levels, it is smart to simply be straightforward and honest about what is happening. They need to know if a parent is moving out or if they themselves have to move. This can help them mentally prepare for what is happening, and they will feel more confident if they know what to expect.
Kids should also know that their parents’ choice to divorce has nothing to do with them. Children may take the blame for the divorce on themselves, which will only lead to long-term emotional harm. Before you move forward, you may find it helpful to ask your kids about what they think regarding custody and visitation, especially if they are older.
During your divorce
During the divorce process, you will want to keep the primary focus on what is truly important – the well-being of your kids. This means you will have to set aside your own temporary feelings and emotions and keep the priority on what makes sense for your kids well into the future.
Be upfront with your kids about what is happening and consider the benefits of therapy. No matter how you are feeling, don’t try to harm the relationship your kids have with their other parent. This means avoiding talking negatively about him or her in front of the kids. Of course, you will also find it helpful to discuss your custody and visitation concerns with an experienced Florida attorney before making any final decisions.