Should you protect your child during a divorce?
Written by Mary Ann Hess

How should you protect your child during a divorce?

When going through a divorce, it’s only natural to want to protect your child or children. Kids are perceptive and can pick up on any animosity between you and your spouse. You don’t want to keep your kids entirely in the dark about your divorce. However, you do still need to protect your child from some aspects. Here’s how to navigate your divorce to protect your children best.

Keep the Fighting to a Minimum

This is one of the best things you can do to protect your child during your divorce. It is hard to avoid fighting completely, so don’t be too hard on yourself if things aren’t going smoothly. What you can do, though, is keep the fighting away from your kids. Do your best not to bring arguments home from your attorney’s office. When you are with your children, your focus should be solely on them and their needs.

Talk to Your Kids

Some kids are more forthcoming than others, so you may need to put in a bit of effort to get yours to open up. Talk to your children in ways that are appropriate for their age. Older kids will be able to understand better what is going on than younger ones, so you may have to get creative in explaining things to them. Keep the focus on the fact that both parents still love them very much and reassure them that the divorce is not their fault.

Avoid Negativity

It can be tempting to speak negatively about your spouse during your divorce; however, you should never do this around your kids, nor should you allow anyone else to do so. In most divorces, both parents continue to play major roles in their children’s lives as they co-parent. You don’t want to ruin your kids’ relationships with their other parent, so do your best to protect your children from your own negative feelings. No matter what, never ask your kids to take sides.

Maintain a Routine

Divorce can be disruptive to children’s lives, and you can protect your child by sticking as closely as possible to your normal routine. This includes things like going to school or daycare, participating in after-school activities and visiting relatives, to name a few. Even though things won’t be exactly the same after your divorce, your kids need to know they will still be okay.

Let Them Express Their Feelings

Divorce is emotional, and your kids need to be able to safely process their feelings. Children whose parents are divorcing often feel a variety of emotions, including sadness, anger and confusion. Reassure your kids that whatever they are feeling is perfectly normal. The more comfortable they feel sharing their feelings with you, the easier it will be to protect your children from the risks of keeping everything bottled up inside.

Create New Traditions

One of the hardest things about divorce for kids is the loss of family traditions. Let your children be sad about the loss of their favorite traditions, then cheer them up with some new ones. Just because things won’t be exactly the same after the divorce doesn’t mean that they can’t still be lots of fun. Have a plan in advance for how you will approach holidays and other special occasions. This way, you can help protect your child from some of the disruptions of divorce.

Consider a Collaborative Divorce

The collaborative process gives you a great opportunity to protect your child during your divorce. With this approach, you and your spouse will work together, minimizing fighting and making the divorce easier for everyone. Reach out to one of the professionals at Best Legal Choices today to learn more about collaborative divorce and how it can help protect your child.