There is no doubt that divorce can be an extremely difficult experience. You can easily get overwhelmed by the emotional pain of ending a marriage, not to mention the legal complexities of dividing assets.
The situation gets exponentially more challenging when there are children involved. Not only will you have to establish things like child support and parenting plans, you will also need to take their feelings and experience into account during the divorce process. With this in mind, there are some things you can do to protect your kids during a difficult transition.
- Keep things as consistent for them as possible. Maintaining a routine and some normalcy can help kids feel safe. If you have a bedtime routine, try your best to keep that the same. Don't suddenly change disciplinary measures or boundaries. Stick to the schedules for school, daycare and extracurricular activities.
- Communicate with them. Depending on their age, your kids will likely understand that something is changing. Discuss what is happening in an age-appropriate way, and explain that they can always talk to you about what they are feeling and ask you questions.
- Prioritize their well-being. Don't put more energy into making your ex miserable than you put into making your kids feel happy, safe and loved. Listen to them and make sure they have what they need.
- Avoid fighting in front of them. This can be very difficult if you and your soon-to-be ex are still living together, but make every effort to not expose your kids to a toxic, potentially dangerous environment.
- Put yourself in their shoes. Taking some time to consider your kids' perspective and experiences during a divorce can help you adjust your own bad behaviors and help you stay focused on the bigger picture.
Divorce will have an impact on your children; minimizing the painful elements and helping them adjust to such a significant change can increase the chances that the impact is more positive than traumatic. An attorney can help you protect your kids in the legal context, but these tips can help you protect them physically and emotionally.