Divorce impacts everyone involved, but children are often more sensitive to the separation. They can become depressed or angry. They might withdraw from family and friends, or they may start to do poorly in school. Some become anxious. Others regress. Still, some may act out and become violent or destructive. Thankfully, parents can reduce the risk and long-term impact of these possible issues. The following explains how.
Breaking the News
The way you and your spouse break the news about divorce can greatly impact your child’s reaction. Make it an argument or invalidate their feelings and you could stir up feelings of anxiety, fear, worry, or self-loathing. Stay calm, explain that each of you will still be in their lives, listen to their questions, and honestly answer age-appropriate questions and you show your child that they are still safe, loved, and wanted by both of their parents.
Maintain Focus on Your Child
One of the biggest challenges that couples face in divorce is figuring out how to navigate through the process while still ensuring your child remains the focus. There may be hurt feelings. There may be some anger or guilt. Just remember that the reason for your divorce is not related to your child. Avoid calling your spouse names and unnecessary arguments. Strive to support your child and your spouse as a parent. Seeing that you and your spouse are united, at least on the child front, can assure your child that they are not losing a parent or their family; their family is just changing.
Limit Communication When Necessary
Although many believe that divorce is always negative for children, experts and even children themselves are showing that it is not just divorce that is traumatic. Instead, it is the contention and arguments that often accompany divorce. If you and your spouse are struggling to get along, consider finding other ways to communicate. Rather than holding phone conversations, communicate through email. Instead of talking about your personal lives during parenting time exchanges, focus on your child’s week or recent accomplishments. Essentially, try to bring the focus back to your child and let your attorneys handle the divorce.
Finding Assistance with the Divorce
If you notice that your child is not coping well, or if you are struggling with your own emotions after the divorce, you may want to consider talking to your child’s pediatrician or a family therapist. These professionals, trained to work with families and children, can help you navigate through the complex emotions that accompany divorce. They can also provide you with age-appropriate advice to suit your child’s needs. A divorce lawyer can also help to ensure you and your spouse are working toward the best interests of your child in your Illinois parenting plan.
At J. Aldrich Law, P.C., we understand the complex dynamics of families going through a divorce. Dedicated to protecting your rights and the best interests of your child, our attorneys will strive for the most favorable outcome in your case. Schedule a personalized consultation with our DuPage County divorce attorneys to learn more. Call 630-953-3000 today.