For children, divorce is often stressful, heartbreaking, and complicated. At any age, children may experience uncertainty about what life is going to be like, or upset at the possibility of parents separating once and for all. Separation and divorce isn’t painless, however as a parent you could make the process and its effects much less painful for the kids.
Helping your children deal with your divorce process means offering balance at your house and attending to your children’s emotional and physical needs with a reassuring, positive frame of mind. To help make this happen, you’ll need to take proper care of yourself and act as calmly as you possibly can with your ex-spouse. This won’t be a seamless process, however your kids can easily move ahead feeling confident with your unconditional love.
Here are a few great guidelines for divorcing parents:
Things you should do:
Love your children as much as possible.
Show them your love through words and actions.
Let your children divorce is not their fault.
Tell your children this repeatedly, they need to hear it more than once.
Assure your children that they will be safe.
And let them know both parents will continue to provide for them to the best of their ability.
Support your children’s relationship with their other parent.
Inform the other parent of special events, school functions or extracurricular activities whenever possible.
Listen to your children.
Honor their feelings without judging, fixing or trying to change how they feel. Remember, your children’s’ feelings don’t have to reflect your feelings.
Let children know it is okay to express those feelings.
Remember your children will need help learning safe and healthy ways to express their feelings. Be sure to provide them with appropriate options.
Provide your children with discipline, as well as love.
Children still need parents to provide structure and limits especially during difficult times.
Things you should not do:
Don’t badmouth, judge or criticize your child’s other parent.
Children literally view themselves as half Mom and half Dad therefore when you attack the other parent you attack your child. This rule also applies to stepparents and other significant adults in your child’s life.
Don’t tell your children about divorce details.
Rarely is it ever in the best interest of children to be exposed to information regarding court matters, child support, financial concerns or intimate details regarding your divorce Typically children feel very confused and caught in the middle when parents expose them to adult issues.
Don’t use your children as messengers or spies.
Be responsible for finding some way to communicate with your ex-spouse.
Don’t retaliate when the other parent says or does damaging things.
Retaliation or giving children “your side of the story” continues the cycle of children feeling very confused and caught between mom and dad. Instead choose to be supportive of your children by using statements such as “I’m sorry you had to hear that” or ” How do you feel when this happens?”
Don’t make your children responsible for making adult decisions.
Children should not be place in the position of deciding parenting schedules, where they will live or how to handle household matters.
Don’t allow your children to become your best friends or confidants.
Children should not feel responsible for their parent’s emotional well being. Make sure you develop a supportive network and find other caring adults to share your feelings with about the divorce.
Don’t place blame when children ask why the divorce happened.
Children should not be placed in the position of judging or taking sides.
Don’t withhold visitation if child support is unpaid or fail to pay child support if the other parent is withholding visitation.
Both actions are illegal and are viewed as separate issues by the court.
Don’t try to buy your child’s love.
While children enjoy gifts, they will remember you for how you cherished them not for the material things you bought them.
Don’t lose your sense of humor.
It comes in handy during stressful times
Guidelines Credit: Divorce and Children
Family law issues can become extremely complex. Securing strong legal representation from an attorney who knows Florida divorce law is the first step toward the outcome you deserve. If you are concerned about what will happen to your children, the future of your home and other assets, or the overall costs of divorce, please schedule an initial consultation with experienced family law attorney.