How to Have an Amicable Divorce with Children
It can be difficult going through a divorce with children. Here are a couple of tips that can help you and your children cope with divorce.
Contact one of the professionals at Best Legal Choices if you want to learn more about collaborative divorce or other peaceful divorce options that may be available to you.
Tips to Help Children Cope With Divorce
- Make it clear to your children that they are loved. Explain to them that getting divorced will not change the way you feel about them.
- Don’t sugarcoat the situation. If you make excuses for the other parent, it hinders your child in expressing their feelings.
- Don’t fight in front of your kids — ever. Keep your heated arguments private and never discuss adult disputes with your children.
- Say goodbye with a smile. When dropping your child off or picking them up, always say goodbye with a smile. They should know that you want them to enjoy the time they spend with the other parent.
Problems Divorcing Parents Could Encounter with Children
Sometimes children may feel like you are “divorcing” them too. They may not understand how you could leave someone you once loved and wonder if you could leave them too. As their parents, you may need to remind them frequently that the love adults feel for each other is different from the love parents have for their children. Tell them that “parent love” is forever, and back it up with your actions.
In an effort to make sense of the situation, children may decide that one parent is the “bad guy.” Sometimes in a heated moment, they will say horrible things: “You’re such a bad Mommy/Daddy, it’s no wonder you’re getting a divorce!” Your child may not understand your feelings about your former spouse, but children need to know that both parents will still love and care for them.
Often kids will make threats in attempting to get their parents to get back together. They may threaten to run away or to ignore parenting time arrangements. As their parents, you will need to explain to them that you understand they are upset but their threats or bad attitudes aren’t going to change the situation. Be prepared to have serious talks about what you, as parents, can do to make the transition easier for them.
Helping Kids Cope with Divorce
I don’t want the divorce to ruin their lives – To help your children deal with divorce, soothe, reassure, and let them know that you love them, and that their parents will take care of them no matter what.
Do we explain why we are getting divorced? – Think ahead about an age-appropriate explanation that comforts your children and eases their fears but doesn’t worry them with the information they don’t need to know.
I don’t want my children to be stressed out – Do you know what stresses children out? Parents who argue about which clothes or toys belong at which home. Having one parent badmouth the other. Uncertainty about what their “new normal” will look like. Reassure them that the parents will make decisions to ensure that they are safe and cared for. Be patient with them during the transition. You may have grown accustomed to the idea of divorce, but it’s a lot for a child to understand.
We parent differently, aren’t they going to get confused? – As long as each parent is consistent within his or her own home, children will adjust to the “ground rules” in both homes. Decisions such as whether kids bathe before bed or in the morning, or whether homework gets done right after school or after dinner are the prerogative of each parent in his/her own home.
I believe my child is struggling, but they won’t open up to me – If your children seem frustrated, depressed, or their grades are dropping, recognize that they may need support and assistance beyond that which a parent can provide. Learn more about how to help kids cope with divorce.
Collaborative Divorce is a Peaceful Alternative
Collaborative divorce is a peaceful alternative to traditional divorce. It is more focused on coming together with your partner to work towards mutually beneficial outcomes, without battling it out in court. While it is almost impossible to separate the emotions provoked by ending a marriage, deciding how to detach two lives can be done in a respectful and productive manner, especially if both partners are open to non-litigation options.. Collaborative divorce can be a better alternative to court for many reasons, including:
- Cost – Collaborative process is often less expensive than litigation because there are no court hearings to prepare for.
- Privacy – Because there are no court hearings and a limited number of documents filed, the negotiations and certain aspects of the outcome will will remain private.
- Control – With the assistance of your attorneys and other collaboratively-trained professionals, you and your spouse decide what happens during your divorce.
- Communication – Even if communication was poor during the marriage, a trained communication specialist can help you learn to say what you need to say and hear what you need to hear. This way, lines of communication can remain open for both of you and your children
- Hartwell-Walker, Marie. “Helping Kids Cope with Your Amicable Divorce.” Psych Central, 8 Oct. 2018, psychcentral.com/lib/helping-kids-cope-with-your-amicable-divorce/.
OUR PROFESSIONALS CAN HELP WITH THE COLLABORATIVE PROCESS IN ARIZONA!
The collaborative divorce process is designed to help people who are willing to work together to make an agreement that benefits the family. Resources that help parents communicate effectively during this process can help them model appropriate behavior for their kids. With a lot of love and support, children can learn to more effectively deal with their parents’ divorce. Contact a professional with Best Legal Choices if you’re ready to take the first step toward starting your new life.
Specializing in collaborative divorce, mediation, and family and juvenile law matters, Kristine has over two decades of experience working with children and families experiencing difficult transitional life events.