When many people decide to divorce, they may consider how their own lives will change, but they may not always consider how the end of a marriage may affect the children that must endure such a change. Indeed, research suggests that some kids will have emotional and academic problems because of a divorce, but other children may be resilient and won’t miss a beat.
Ultimately, you may not know how your children will react until it actually happens. Nevertheless, divorcing parents can take the following steps protect kids from additional harm.
Allow time for change – Children thrive on stability and predictability. Sudden changes may spark anxiety, so sudden announcements about family splits should be avoided.
Avoid manipulation – Some parents will show additional affection or shower kids with gifts in an attempt to jockey for position in custody disputes. This also may be confusing to children.
Get help – Parenting classes for divorcees are not only required, they offer additional tips and help for divorcing couples who have trouble communicating and co-parenting.
Avoid conflict – Constant bickering and fighting only heightens the tension with children. An amicable split not only spares their feelings, but it can help them understand how to resolve conflict.
Give constant reassurance – Kids commonly blame themselves for their parents’ problems. Continued reassurance that things are not their fault is essential.
Of course, divorcing parties are bound to disagree on things that may not directly affect the children (i.e. dividing personal property, retirement accounts, real property). If they can separate their feelings about each other from their feelings about children, the divorce could be made easier for the kids.