In 2018, there were 782,038 divorces reported in the United States. According to this statistic, if your family is going through a divorce, then you are not alone.
Divorce happens, and while it is never fun, sometimes it is necessary.
One thing that many parents are concerned about is divorce and children. If you’re concerned that you’ve ruined your children’s lives, then you must know that you have not.
Children can get through the divorce as long as they have strong parents who are ready to support them. Doing what is best for them should be your top priority.
Be sure to keep reading for our guide on how to support your child during a divorce.
Have a Lawyer
One of the first things you should do when dealing with divorce and children is to make sure that you have a lawyer. A divorce lawyer will help to arrange all the legal agreements and can even help you make difficult decisions.
Your lawyer will be there to make sure that no one gets taken advantage of in the situation.
During a divorce, you will need help splitting up the belongings. When it comes to your children, you’re going to want to figure out the custody arrangements.
Even if everyone is acting civil in the agreement, it is better to have everything legally written down on paper compared to a verbal contract. Your lawyer can help you will all the legalities and arrange everything with you.
Don’t Try and Hide the Divorce
A huge mistake that parents make when dealing with divorce and children is hiding it from their kids. You should know that your children aren’t dumb. They will know that something is going on within your household that isn’t right.
One thing that you don’t want to happen is for your child to find out that you’re getting divorced before you tell them. Many children could feel like this is a major trust issue.
If you’re telling friends and family about the divorce and not your kids, then that is another huge problem. A friend or family member could let it slip before you get the chance to talk to your kids.
What should you do instead of hiding the divorce from your kids?
Once you and your spouse have decided to get divorced, then you should sit down with your children and tell them right away. They’re a significant part of your family, and it is going to affect them as much as it will you.
Be prepared to answer any questions that your children might have when you talk to them. You might not have all the answers to their questions right away. Let them know that it will be an ongoing thing and that they can always come to you when they have a question or concern.
Communicate With Your Children
Children and divorce are going to require a lot of communication.
It might take some time for your child to start opening up to you about the situation. Yet, you need to let them know that you’re there to talk to them when needed.
One thing you don’t want is for your child to think that you’re trying to get them on your side. There shouldn’t be any sides in the divorce. Your kids need to feel that their parents are both still equals.
Children can also sense when you have pent of feelings and aren’t being yourself. Make sure that you have someone you can talk to about your emotions and aren’t bottling them up.
Bottling your feelings can be detrimental to you and your children. Talk to a therapist, family member, or friend about what you’re going through. It can help make the transition in your life easier for you and your kids.
Spend Time With Your Children
Going through a divorce is a hectic and stressful time for everyone. You’re going to feel like you have so much going on, but when you have children you need to remember to spend time with them.
You should remember to do fun activities with your children and not only the daily activities that you normally would do. Spend time going to the park or getting ice cream.
One thing that you can do together is to read children’s books about divorce and separation. Reading these types of books together can help to answer any questions your children might have regarding your recent separation from your spouse.
You’ll find that there are plenty of books that can help your child grasp the topic.
Remember not to only read books about divorce but choose more books to read together. There are tons of great books out there that can bring you closer together as long as you’re spending time with one another.
Keep a Close Eye on Their Academic Life
Divorce and children’s outcomes could be anything from stress to anxiety or depression. These types of things come in all different varieties for everyone.
The divorce family structure and the academic success of children can sometimes be a bit difficult. One way to check in on your child is to see how they’re doing in school.
Some kids who are overwhelmed with stress, anxiety, or depression will let their school assignments pile up, and their grades will start to slip.
You can talk to their teachers and see how they behave in class as well. Are they still interacting with friends and participating in class?
If you notice that your child isn’t the same as they once were before the divorce, then you’re going to want to do something about it.
One thing you can do is to make a plan with your child so that they can come home and do their homework or study. If you dedicate time to help them, then you’re even spending time with them, which can help too. Make sure that you talk to your ex-partner and get them on board for the plan so your child will remain consistent at their house as well.
Encourage a Social Life
Besides doing schoolwork, something else you might notice is that your child isn’t as interested in hanging out with their friends. Not wanting to be social could be another sign of stress, anxiety, or depression.
Make sure that you’re also supporting your child’s after school activities and social life. Encourage them to hang out with their friends or continue with any sports or activities that they enjoy doing.
As much as you want your children to talk to you about their issues, they also need a good support system with their friends. They might be more comfortable discussing what’s going on in their life with friends that they can trust. Yet, if they’re keeping to themselves, then that is going to be impossible.
Making sure that your children are doing their usual activities will be good for them. If they can be with their friends and have fun, then they might be distracted from the stress that they feel at home.
Understand Why Your Children Are Acting Out
There might be times during the divorce that your children could act out, which might be unlike them. Doing this isn’t unusual for kids that go through stressful or overwhelming situations and can happen quite frequently.
You should first understand where your children are coming from before punishing them. Seeing their point of view in the situation is critical to understanding their actions.
Children feel sad, upset, and even angry about their parent’s separation. If they have to live in two different houses now, then they’re going to be dealing with that. They’re also going to be testing new boundaries and seeing what they can get away with acting like.
You might want to take the time to put yourself in their shoes before you take action. See how things about changed for them and try to understand why they’re feeling the way they do.
If you see that your child is acting out from your divorce, then first understand why and try to empathize with them.
As we mentioned previously, communication is vital in these situations. Let them know that you’re there to talk to them, and you could both work it out together.
After you’ve discussed the situation, now you can set rules and limits to what your children can and can’t do after the divorce. You should make sure that you follow through with any consequences for your children.
Handling Divorce and Children
There is always a reason for divorce. Handling divorce and children can be done successfully as long as you make your children a top priority.
You indeed have a lot of other things going on in your life, but your children should always come first, especially in a difficult situation.
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