Divorce is tough on your kids. Their sense of normalcy and stability can be significantly disrupted, and they might harbor feelings of resentment against one or both parents. This can make it hard for you to communicate with them and maintain a strong relationship.
Although this can be incredibly stressful for you, there are strategies that you can implement to try to make acclimating to life post-divorce easier for them. If you do so, then you might be able to reduce the emotional and psychological impact on your children while even strengthening your bond with them.
How can you address your children’s concerns post-divorce?
There’s no one right approach here. The steps that you take are going to depend in large part on your children, the circumstances surrounding your divorce, and what you hope to accomplish. However, there’s a menu of options that may be useful to you:
- Stay involved: Even if you end up being your children’s non-custodial parent, you should do your best to remain active in their lives. If you don’t, then your child might feel like they’ve lost a parent as part of the divorce. That can leave them feeling like they’re unimportant and unworthy of your love. Don’t let them feel that way.
- Focus on effective co-parenting: Co-parenting disputes are common. But they can leave your children feeling caught in the middle, sometimes even blaming themselves for the disagreements and fighting. As a result, your child can be left with guilt and depression. This can be avoided, though, if you and your child’s other parent can find a way to present a united front in your co-parenting efforts.
- Be supportive of time with the other parent: Actively seeking to reduce the time between your children and their other parent out of spite can backfire on you, causing tension, stress, and resentment. We know it can be hard to encourage your children to spend time with their other parent, but doing so is probably what’s best for your kids. There are, of course, some circumstances where doing this is unsafe for your children, in which case you should seek to restrict the other parent’s access to your kids.
- Establish or maintain routine: Children thrive on routine. The quicker you can establish a new routine, the better. If you struggle to do so, then your kids might feel like their lives are chaotic and spinning out of control. Help them feel like they can retain direction of their lives, then, by establishing or maintaining a routine.
- Open lines of communication: Your children are going to deal with the fallout from your divorce for a long time to come. You can help them cope with their emotions, though, by encouraging them to talk to you and actively listening to them. You’ll want to be open and honest with them so that they don’t feel like you’re trying to keep them in the dark. Also, try not to talk poorly about the other parent, as it can confuse your children and leave them uncertain about what’s true in their lives.
- Consider collaborative divorce: If you can find a way to end your marriage on amicable terms with your spouse, then you’re going to be in a better position to work together to care for your kids. Collaborative divorce can set the stage for a productive, fair, and supportive resolution that you need to protect your children and their best interests.
Don’t shy away from pursuing what’s in your children’s best interests
Hopefully, you’ll be able to engage in effective co-parenting so that your children can have both of their parents in their lives. If that’s not possible, though, then you need to consider whether a custody modification is best for your kids.
But if you hope to successfully pursue a modification, then you need to know how to craft your arguments in a way that speaks to the law. Before moving forward with any sort of custody modification, you might find it helpful to gather and analyze your evidence while reading up on the best way to present these sorts of cases.