When a couple goes through a divorce, there is a lot to unpack. The spouses are not the only ones dealing with the emotional fallout. Friends and family members may be concerned about the split. Co-workers and neighbors may be wondering what is going on.
And let’s not forget the kids. In many cases, children are overlooked during the divorce proceedings and post-divorce aftermath. It is not uncommon for their parents to use them as pawns in a divorce, leveraging them in order to seek revenge on the other parent and get what they want.
Children thrive on routine and stability. No child wants their parents to break up (unless there is a valid reason such as domestic violence or substance abuse). Children want to envision their family as a beacon of happiness and support, not as a failure. They want to spend time together as a family. They want to make good memories with their parents and look forward to a bright and happy future, not one filled with awkwardness.
Divorce can be traumatizing for kids. They may not always show it, but for the most part, children are anxious about their parents splitting up. They never think it will happen and when it does, it can really throw them for a loop. A divorce can affect various areas of their lives including grades, friends, and even the partners they choose later in life. Divorce can affect a person for a long time and even an adult child who is living on their own may feel a great deal of sadness when their parents divorce.
Post-divorce family culture is often negative. Hurt feelings, rejection, infidelity, anger, financial issues, and other unresolved issues can lead to spiteful interactions and general negativity. It can be hard for parents to put these negative feelings to the side and tend to the best interests and well-being of their children.
However, it is up to the parents to make post-divorce interactions friendly and full of goodwill. It can be hard for parents, as they are dealing with their own feelings following a divorce. Post-divorce life will be new and different for them as well. However, as parents, they need to be the ones to take a step in the right direction and make divorce as easy as possible for the kids. Here are some things you will need to take into consideration as you end your marriage and move forward on a positive note with your children.
Your Kids Identify With You
Kids consider their parents to be part of their identity. After all, they are probably used to people telling them how they have their dad’s personality or their mom’s eyes. They also identify with how people treat their parents. If they find out that their mother sought revenge on their father, it will make them mad. So will yelling or talking negatively about each other. Children may not say anything at the time, but they are really hurting when people say mean things about their parents, especially if it is their own parent doing the badmouthing. They may think that the criticism is a reflection of them as well, as children identify with the good and the bad. Focus on the good and be mindful of what you say about the other spouse.
Inform Your Children of What Will Stay the Same
After a divorce, children are often told what will change. Mom or Dad will be moving out. The kids will live in different homes sometimes. The parents may not have as much time or money to spend.
While it is good to tell the kids what will change, it is equally important to focus on what will not change. Kids like stability and they want to know that some things will stay the same. Will they be able to go to the same school? Can they stay involved in the same sports and extracurricular activities?
Be a Good Role Model
Some kids understand that their parents cannot get along. Sometimes a divorce is necessary when there is just too much conflict. Kids are observant and they know when two people do not get along.
After a divorce, parents need to do their part to be good role models, as kids tend to mimic their parents. While the perfect breakup is not possible, it is possible to be mature about the situation and be amicable toward the other parent. It is always nice when parents can be friendly toward each other during pick-ups and drop-offs and can sit together at games, plays, concerts, and celebrations without yelling at each other. The kids greatly appreciate those efforts by their parents and it makes the transition less stressful for them.
Talk it Out
It is normal for children to have questions and concerns about the divorce. However, they may not always feel comfortable talking to you about it, as the divorce happened to you as well. This is when finding a therapist can be helpful. They can discuss topics without fear of upsetting you.
The divorce process is tricky for children, but with good communication, kids can move on with less stress.
Seek Legal Help
Many parents tend to overlook how their children feel about a divorce. Splitting up a family is never an easy task and children need stability during this time.
Broward County divorce attorney Scott J. Stadler can help you make your divorce less stressful for your children. We know the processes that will work. To learn more, fill out the online form or call (954) 346-6464 to schedule a consultation.