No matter how you look at it, divorce is hard. It can be especially difficult on the kids. Even though you and your spouse know divorce is the right decision for your family, kids often feel guilty or betrayed by it. It's up to you as parents to put up a united front and help them through this tough time.
Telling the Kids about an Impending Divorce
Telling your children that their parents are divorcing is sure to be one of the hardest things you'll ever have to do. Younger children may not fully understand what it means, but older children who do understand may have a difficult time dealing with it. You and your spouse may not agree on anything, but on this, you should do your best to come together to help your kids understand and cope.
It is important that you make sure your children understand that you love them no matter what. As is often the case in divorce, children feel as if they are to blame for their parents' marital problems. When you tell your children of your decision to divorce, let them know that despite your own inability to get along, your love for them is unending, and the decision to separate has nothing to do with them.
Communication is key in telling your kids of your decision. Don't make excuses for the situation, and don't fight in front of them. Let your children express themselves and ask questions. Answer them honestly without giving any of the gory details. When you open the lines of communication at this point, you let your kids know they can come to either of you later on if they need to talk.
Helping the Kids Deal with Divorce
It may take some time for your kids to come to terms with the idea of divorce. Your main goal should be to guide them through the transition with as little upset as possible. Let them know that both of you will always be their parents, and that you both will continue parenting them together. It is important that your children know you both will always be there for them.
One of the best ways to help kids adjust and deal with divorce is making sure you stick to visitation schedules. Kids look forward to spending time with both parents, so when a parent constantly misses scheduled visitation, it gives the children feelings of not being important enough.
On the other hand, co-parenting takes practice and patience, so the two of you must be flexible as well. Set visitation isn't always convenient, so you have to be willing to change the visitation schedule from time to time to accommodate the children's and your own timelines.
Divorce is never easy on anyone, but with just a little teamwork and regular communication, your family can, and will, get through it. The suggestions above are just a few of the things you can do to help your children deal with divorce. Some states require divorcing parents to take a parenting class that helps them better guide their children through the ordeal. Of course, a reputable family law attorney can also help you and your family through the process.