No matter the reasons, the end of a marriage is a traumatic time for any adult. There is the emotional trauma of a significant relationship coming to an end and the unfulfilled dreams that the relationship started with. You also suffer the social fallout of friends choosing sides, the disruption to your daily routines and living situation, and the financial uncertainty of it all.
As hard and unsettling as this is for you, imagine what divorce means to a child. Parents are a child’s primary source of stability and security; and now, their family unit has been split and their world has been rocked. This is a formative time in a child’s development and unfortunately, their feelings can manifest in an array of new behaviors and maladaptive coping mechanisms.
Because they lack the life experience, maturity, and tools to process your divorce by themselves, they need you now more than ever. You can help them in the following ways.
- Don’t avoid the subject. Avoiding difficult conversations will not help your child process your divorce—it will actually hurt your child in the long term. There is a way to speak honestly to your children without telling them everything. Some parents choose to engage a family therapist to help communicate with their children.
- Mean what you say and keep your commitments. Your children need to know that they are safe and that they can trust their new world. You can give them this gift by being honest with them and following through when you make them promises.
- Don’t make your child choose sides. One of the most emotionally damaging experiences a child can have when their parents separate is when they are put in the middle of the conflict. Some parents openly disparage the other parent to their child, or attempt to turn the child against the other parent. This is wrong and puts an unfair burden on the child. These efforts are also transparent and can be used against you in an custody dispute.
- Commit to learning to co-parent. Ultimately, children thrive when they have healthy relationships with both parents. It is always better to nurture, rather than destroy, these critical relationships. Even though your marital relationship with your spouse has ended, you will forever be linked by your children. Therefore, your children deserve your best efforts to develop a healthy co-parenting relationship with your former spouse.
- Have a plan. Children adjust better in a divorce matter if their custody situation fosters continuity, predictability, and regular contact with both parents. Having a thorough custody plan can reduce conflicts between the parents and give your child a solid idea of what to expect.
Call Viloria, Oliphant, Oster & Aman L.L.P.
If you are separating from your spouse, a family lawyer can help you attain some stability and certainty through a parenting agreement. At Viloria, Oliphant, Oster & Aman, L.L.P., our family law attorneys understand that you and your children need some peace of mind during this challenging time. We will work hard to provide you with intelligent, effective legal representation so that you can start living your new normal with confidence. Let us help you. Call Viloria, Oliphant, Oster & Aman L.L.P. today at (775) 210-8178 to schedule an initial consultation or contact our office through our website.