Divorce takes an emotional toll on the whole family, especially in cases where conflict is high. When children are involved, the potential impact on them should never be overlooked. As parents, there are numerous ways in which you can minimise any negative impact on the children, and ensure that their well-being is a priority.
Let’s take a look.
Don’t make the children take sides.
From big decisions like who they want to live with, to smaller questions such as who’s going to sign their school permission slips, your children should never be made to feel as though they have to make a choice between you and your ex-partner.
Children want to please both of their parents, and feeling stuck in the middle can cause a lot of anxiety and stress. It’s important to remember that if they ‘choose’ the other parent, they aren’t ‘choosing them over you’; they’re simply trying to maintain a relationship with the both of you.
Oversharing the details of your divorce with your children can make them feel guilty or pressured into taking sides. For example, you shouldn’t talk about how much money you’re getting in the financial settlement, or who’s best placed to take care of them on a day-to-day basis.
It can be easy to confide in your children during a divorce, but they aren’t equipped to emotionally support you in that way. Make sure you’re finding support from someone who is trained and able to give it. That isn’t your children.
Whilst oversharing needs to be avoided, you don’t want to shut your children out completely either. It’s important to find that balance between keeping your children in the loop whilst also protecting their well-being.
Spending quality time with your children and taking time to explain to them in an appropriate, kind and unbiased way the reasons why you have both reached the decision to divorce are key steps to minimising the impact on your children.
Reassuring them that they’re loved and that what’s happening between you and your ex partner isn’t their fault, is a good start. Depending on their age, being open and honest about the stages of the divorce will develop trust.
Take it slow when introducing a new partner.
Divorce is a huge adjustment for your children. Whilst all children react differently, they’ll all feel the change in circumstance. Introducing a new partner needs to be handled sensitively, and at the appropriate time. It’s important to set proper boundaries that put the welfare of your children first. They need to have a sense of control over the situation.
Talk to a legal expert.
When you’re going through a divorce, expert legal guidance can help things run smoothly and efficiently. And ultimately, that’s likely to go some way to minimising the negative impact on the children. So if you’re looking for a legal team that’s on your side, get in touch with us today, and let’s see how we can help.