Protecting Children During Divorce

The girl in the foreground at quarrel of parentsDivorce is rarely a simple process. In many cases, the divorce process can be a source of stress and frustration for the parties involved. While parties to a divorce have many considerations, such as support payments or property division, they are not the only ones affected by the stress that comes with divorce. Even though a child generally has little say in the outcome of a divorce, the division of the family can cause a great deal of stress. While the divorce process may need to continue, there are several ways to protect a child during a divorce case.

Avoid Litigation

Even though most people think of court when they think of divorce, there are generally several options available to parties when it comes to finalizing a divorce. Not only can parties agree to a separation agreement in lieu of litigation, they can also use the assistance of third-party neutrals, such as mediators, in order to facilitate a smoother separation. While it may be necessary to go through litigation in order to finalize the divorce, it is just as important to avoid unnecessarily dragging the child through the conflict. Your child will be going through enough stress just by dealing with the breaking up of the family and will not need the additional stress of one parent trying to pit him or her against the other.

Avoid Drama

While you might not get along with the other parent, there is no need for you to involve your child in any personal dispute. It is always best to avoid inciting any drama in front of the child. In addition, it is just as important to avoid putting down the spouse in front of the child, especially if the other spouse is not around while you do it. Not only will it create more stress for your child, but doing things like bad-mouthing your ex-spouse can even harm your relationship with your child.

Seek Therapy

While the public opinion of therapy has come a long way over the past few decades, there can still be some stigma around seeing a therapist, especially for a child. It is important to seek out professional counseling, even if the child does not express any signs of stress or grief. In the end, it is better to talk to a family therapist in advance, as opposed to waiting for issues to arise within the child. Not only can therapy help children with individual issues they might face, but it can help foster stronger relationships between parents and children.

Be There for Your Child

While it is your name on the divorce papers, your child is going through this divorce alongside you. It is important to continue to be there for the child, even if you do not have full custody. Keeping in contact with the child can go a long way to protecting the child from some of the stresses that come with divorce. In addition, it is just as important to remind the child that the divorce is not his or her fault. While some children may be mature enough to understand the reasons behind a divorce, younger children may feel that they are the cause of the divorce. Being there for your children can help them better adjust to the changes that come with divorce.

Maintain Normalcy

Just as you should be there for your child, you should also do your best to strive for a sense of normalcy through the divorce process. Divorce comes with its own sets of challenges and changes for children, which can include seeing less of one parent, moving to a new location, or moving to a new school. While it may be impossible to maintain absolute normalcy in your life after a divorce, it is important for children to see that life continues after divorce.

Normalcy, however, is not just limited to living conditions, and can also extend to the discipline of a child. While it may be tempting to take it easy on a child, or to try to be their friend first and their parent second, one of the best ways a parent can help a child is by making the tough calls. Even though a child might be upset in the short term due to seemingly unfair decisions, maintaining discipline during and beyond the divorce can go a long way to helping a child adjust to any further changes that might come about as a result of the divorce.

Personal Maintenance

Just as it is important to be a parent for your child during and beyond the divorce proceedings, it is as important to make sure that you are not becoming overburdened with stress. As most people are aware, stress can cause individuals to act rashly and can wind up causing even more stress to any minor children. While it might not seem like there is enough time to take a mental health day, even small things like enjoying a peaceful evening with friends can help rejuvenate you and can help you make the most of the time you spend with your children.