Divorce is a stressful and devastating event that takes a toll on everyone involved. In almost all cases, the children suffer the brunt of the divorce proceedings, with studies showing divorce can have a significant effect on children throughout their lives. These effects have led to the rise of child-centred divorces where parents take as much care as possible to protect children from the emotional, physical and psychological effects of divorce. An important tenet of child-centred divorce is putting the children first during the proceedings. Here’s how parents can do that.
Be Honest with Them
Children are intuitive enough to know when something is wrong. Keeping them in the dark about the divorce will lead to feelings of uneasiness so it is important to let them know as soon as you know that there is no reconciliation, and the divorce will proceed.
While you want to provide as many details about the divorce as possible in order to be honest, you also need to share the news properly. Do not share details about why you are splitting up, and avoid blaming your partner or bashing them. It is also important to let your kids know that they are not the cause of the divorce because children will often blame themselves for it.
Timing is Critical
A divorce is an earth-shattering event that can affect other things your child is involved in right now. Timing is crucial because it helps you avoid telling them when they have something important coming up. For example, avoid telling them when they have a major test or sporting event coming up. Instead, find some time when they are free and call a family meeting. You can tell them together and, again, emphasise that they are not the cause of the divorce.
Fight for Child Custody
Many parents who do not get custody stop visiting their children because the children remind them of the pain of the divorce. Some think that walking away is a better alternative to the arguments and additional hurt it takes to fight for their kids. However, we know that single-parent households where one parent is not involved are not the best environments for kids to grow up in.
It is, therefore, important to fight for custody during and after the divorce process. Get in touch with lawyers specialising in child custody to help you navigate getting custody of your children after a divorce or separation. The lawyers will ensure the best outcome for the children because the law protects the welfare of children over that of parents.
Tell Them Only What They Need to Know
The reasons for the divorce might be too complicated for children to understand. They will have questions about why you are separating and even though you might be tempted to explain, it is best to give them only the information they need. This is an important part of not blaming or bashing your partner as mentioned above.
In addition to letting them know it is not their fault, you also need to talk to your kids about what is going to change. This is something your kids will be curious about, and it can be a delicate topic to discuss. Reassure them by letting them know you will always love them even though you will no longer be with their mum or dad. Reassuring them like this is especially important as you prepare them in case you don’t get custody.
Divorces are messy, confusing, frustrating, depressing and devastating events for all involved, especially the children. They should be handled delicately to ensure they have as little effect on the children and their lives as possible.