When you are going through a divorce, your priority should be to minimize the impact of the divorce on your children. Your children will be seeing many changes and experiencing a new way of life, but there are resources available to help you help them.
To minimize the impact of divorce on your children, there are three general things to do:
- Talk to your children about the divorce in an age-appropriate manner
- Work together as co-parents
- Be ready to adapt to support your children’s needs
As good co-parents, the first thing you will want to do is talk to your children about divorce and what it means for your family. If your children are very young, this might be as simple as explaining that their parents won’t be living together and that they will now visit each parent in a different home.
For older children, it may make more sense to discuss that you and your spouse will no longer be together but will still be active parents together. Explain the kids’ schedule and the expectations you have while listening to their concerns.
After you talk about the divorce with your children, you need to reassure them that you will always love them and that you both will always be their parents — both of you. If possible, try to create similar rules in both homes and set the same expectations regardless of where your children are.
Finally, be ready to adapt. While you and your spouse might have a plan for your children’s custody schedule, you may find that you need to adapt it due to their emotional reaction to the divorce or other issues that come up. Being flexible and willing to discuss changes in custody or parenting plans, especially during the start of the new routine, may help you make adjustments that help your children adapt to their new living arrangements.
With the right approach, you can make a divorce less stressful for your children
When you approach divorce with an eye on reducing conflict and improving communication, your children will see you handle a difficult situation with grace and respect. This may help them get through the divorce more easily while learning how to handle difficult situations in their own lives.