Divorce is rarely easy. It can interrupt people’s lives for months. Divorce may forever change certain personal relationships. Some things may never be quite the same afterwards.
Depending on their age, your children may not understand why you are getting divorced. It can be difficult for them to fully understand. They may also feel angry about the breakup or think that the divorce is their fault.
It’s important to talk to your kids about the divorce. Discussions should begin as soon as possible. The earlier and the more you talk with them, the more likely they will be to accept the circumstances. With that in mind, here are a few things that you can do to make the process a little less stressful.
The very first thing to do is, to be honest and open with your children. You don’t have to go into every detail, especially if your kids are very young. All you need to do is to explain why you are getting divorced. It may take several conversations that can take more time than you might originally anticipate.
Let your children know that they are not to blame for the end of the marriage. They need to know that you and your spouse will still continue to love and care for them, no matter what happens. Their needs will always come first. They should be able to visit and talk to each of you whenever they want. Make it easy for your kids to communicate, as they’ll probably want to share good news and bad news as it happens.
Listen to and answer their questions
Your kids will undoubtedly have a lot of questions. That’s perfectly normal. Most children are inquisitive by nature. They want to understand how things work and why things happen, including their parents’ divorce. Pay attention to what they have to say, so that you can formulate proper responses. You may want to talk with your partner to develop replies to certain questions that aren’t always easy to answer.
If your child seems to have a lot of inquiries, they may be feeling uncertain about the future. Answer their questions to the best of your abilities. Try to reassure them if they express worries or fears. You may not know what will happen in the future, but you can make them feel at ease by letting them know that you’ll always be looking out for them.
Be patient and understanding
Divorce is just as disruptive to children as it is to their parents. Your kids may defy orders, start getting in trouble or school or act out in retaliation. Unacceptable behaviors should be nipped in the bud, but not before you get to the reasons why your children acted in those manners.
Parenting often requires a fair amount of understanding, calmness and patience. This is easier said than done at times, but don’t give up. Talk to your kids in a fair, even tone. They need to know when they’re doing the right and wrong things in life. They can learn this by explaining to them how others feel or react when they behave or misbehave.
Having meaningful conversations and dialogues can make for a smoother transition. Your children will learn to adjust to changes as they happen without flying off the handle when something goes wrong or things don’t go their way. They can also have things to look forward to, like scheduled visitations, school events and holiday breaks.
Try to keep emotions out of the equation
Let’s face it: your emotions can be all over the place during a divorce. You may be feeling very sad when contemplating the end of your marriage, or extremely happy once the divorce has been granted. There will be days where you may be furious with your former partner. Your children will probably pick up on those emotions, even if you use nonverbal cues. Kids are much more perceptive than most of us give them credit for.
There may be times where you feel angry or hurt. You could be tempted to call your former partner all kinds of nasty names or retaliate against them. However, it’s probably best to step back for a bit. Don’t let your emotions get the best of you, especially during the divorce proceedings. They could work against you. Take a time out to think about those feelings and the overall end goal.
Let your children have their own input.
If your kids are old enough, they may have their own say about living arrangements and other important considerations. After all, they may need to move farther away from their school, friends and other relatives. Once a child reaches age 16 in Maryland, they can decide which parent they want to live with.
Your child will still need structure, but you can definitely take their thoughts and ideas seriously. They may make determining visitation schedules easier. It can also create less stress and anxiety for your kids once a schedule is put in place that allows them to see the people who are important to them and still enjoy just being a kid.
Divorce doesn’t necessarily mean failure. The marriage didn’t work out for some reason. In some cases, ending a marriage may be the best thing that could ever happen to partners and their children.
You probably have a lot of concerns. That’s why we’re here to help. Contact us to schedule a no-obligation consultation. Our trained professionals will sit down with you and address those issues. We will provide recommendations for possible future actions and can even represent you in court if you want.
Getting you back on track is our primary goal. We know that this is going to take some time. Most divorces usually have some obstacles and stumbling blocks at different phases. You’ll have to devote yourself to the process. If you’re willing to do the work, the results should pay off in the long run. You’ll probably be enjoying life again before you realize it.