Trusted Murfreesboro Divorce Lawyer Provides Reliable Guidance on Minimizing the Impact of Divorce on Children
01 November 2015IN: Family Law
Minimizing the negative effect of divorce on children is our goal
The end of a marriage is an emotionally, gut-wrenching experience during which the impact that it has on children can be ignored or not given as much attention as it deserves. Children rely upon the sense of security and stability that comes from being part of a family unit. Suddenly, mommy and daddy are yelling at each other, and one of them may even have moved out of the house. Children are frequently left wondering about what is happening and what role, if any, they played in causing it. There are steps that parents can take to help their children cope with the impact of a divorce.
Let children know what is happening, but remember that they are children
If possible, both parents should participate in the conversation in which the children are told about the divorce. Why their parents are getting the divorce is not something the children need to know about. Points parents should focus on include:
- Let them know it’s not their fault: A child is the center of his or her world. If mom or dad is happy, it’s because the child has done something good, but if mom or dad is sad, then it must be the child’s fault. The same principle holds true about the divorce. Children can very easily take an argument between their parents, or even the divorce itself, as their fault.
- Explain what will be happening to the family unit: Chances are that one of the parents will be living outside of the home, so explain this to the children. Explain to them that the fact that one parent will not be around all of the time is not a sign that the parent loves them any less than before or that the parent will not be there when they are needed.
- Reinforce relationships: Reassure the children by outlining how visitation, parenting and other involvement between the children and each parent will work. Invite their participation in planning visitation schedules.
- Be positive and upbeat: It may be difficult to do, but children need to see and hear their parents speaking positively about the future. Letting them know that mom and dad are acting together to make this new way of life work for the entire family can go a long way in allaying a child’s fears and anxiety about the divorce.
Avoid involving the children in the conflict between the parents
Anger, frustration and most other negative emotions find a way of coming out during a divorce. For the sake of the children, parents should avoid discussing the divorce issues that are being contested with their children. Negative or disparaging comments about the other parent that are said to or in front of the children can be disturbing to young minds.
Some comments made by parents in front of children carry negative connotations about the other parent even though that might not have been the purpose. For example, a child hearing a parent who is receiving child support payments complain about money being tight could take that to mean that the other parent is at fault.
Parental cooperation when it comes to children lessens the negative impact of divorce
Bickering parents who are constantly fighting about support, visitation and parenting roles are destined to have children who are anxious, fearful and insecure. Worse yet, children who realize they can turn the disagreements between their parents to their own advantage soon learn to manipulate one parent against the other. A united front between the parents when it comes to event planning and discipline for their children can avoid many of the emotional issues children develop during or after a divorce.