Many couples considering divorce tend to stay in their unhappy marriages longer out of fear of harming their children. Divorce isn’t usually easy on anyone involved, but there are certainly ways you can minimize the impact that divorce has on your children. Maintaining healthy communication with your children both during and after divorce is an essential first step.
Insulating Your Children from the Impact of Divorce
There are changes and adjustments that will occur both during and after divorce that can affect your children in big ways. Minimizing the confusion and anxiety that these changes can cause will help your children adjust to the divorce and their new lives. You can help insulate your children from the impact of divorce by practicing the following:
- Establish open communication with your children. Encourage them to ask questions when they have them and respond to their inquiries as clearly and honestly as possible. Always communicate with your children without hostility, anger, or other negative emotions regarding your ex-spouse.
- If you can do so in a civil or amicable manner, talk to your children about the separation or divorce together with your ex-spouse. When your children can see and talk to the two of you together, it ensures they are receiving the same message from both parents. This helps to limit confusion and can create a sense of stability in an otherwise tumultuous time.
- You don’t have to shield your child from every emotion you have. Although it’s important to communicate a sense of calm and control, you’ll also benefit from being open and honest with your children. Let them know how you are feeling about the divorce, whether you’re sad, anxious, upset, or otherwise. This helps to normalize the experience and gives them words to communicate their own feelings.
Parenting Fairly and Avoiding Favoritism
Your children are already going through a difficult emotional time as the family structure they’ve known their whole lives dismantles. Children already tend to feel guilty, angry, deserted, and other negative emotions when their parents get divorced, so it’s important to remember that they still need you for support.
When a new relationship begins after divorce and there are new children in the picture, some parents show favoritism to their new family members and leave their own children feeling alone and uncared for. This can be destructive to your child’s well-being and harmful to their self-esteem. You can help ensure your children, from your previous relationship and your new one, feel loved and cared about by:
- Noticing and acknowledging the uniqueness of each child, rather than treating them in the same way.
- Dedicating time to each child individually and participate in activities they personally enjoy.
- Avoiding comparing your children or over-praising one child more than another.
- Settle disputes between your children fairly and keep punishments equal.
- Encourage healthy sibling relationships.
Get Help from a Divorce Lawyer in Owings Mills, MD
Going through a divorce is already a difficult process, and can be even more so when there are children involved. Luckily, you don’t have to go at it alone. Alan Billian is a trustworthy and compassionate divorce lawyer in Owings Mills with almost 30 years of experience working with couples and families navigating divorce. For legal advice or help with your divorce, custody agreement, or other family law concern, contact us today for a free consultation.