Helping Your Children Cope During A Divorce

During any family change it is helpful to live in the present alongside the realities that accompany it. A lot of things in a family go well until they don’t. You would have noticed it is the same with some friendships and other relationships. No matter the efforts you put in to restore the bond that once existed, the glue sometimes doesn’t stick as strongly again. This is what happens after a divorce. It’s like the finality in a season or phase of life. To have reached this conclusion is to have gone through phases of denial, trying to mend fences, hopelessness, and perhaps giving up. Now that it has happened, one must come to terms with the situation.

Incidences of divorce have been on a sporadic increase in recent decades and unfortunately –  or fortunately, as the case may be – yours has just found its way to add to the growing number. Many stages are involved in a divorce, from the first petition to the decree absolute, which legally marks the end of a marriage. As these stages unfold, crucial decisions must be made and steps and have to be taken by both parties. One of these is hiring an attorney and possibly requesting the services of a Parenting Coordinator. If things are to go smoothly in a strained relationship, the one cannot do without the other.

When a decision to divorce is made by a couple, the children’s feelings have to be meticulously taken into consideration. Their emotions go through stages of denial, confusion, anxiety, fears, anger, and a lot more that they cannot fully express immediately because they do not quite understand why it’s all happening. Due to this, the parent can seek the services of a professional Parent Coordinator who will see to the overall well-being of the children involved.

The Parent Coordinator (PC) cannot make progress on the coping strategies they intend to use for the children if the parents do not cooperate and reach a compromise on how to make things work and less burdensome for the children. A PC acts as the middleman, the neutral body who helps to stick to a parenting plan. It could be hard on either party to watch another person intervene in the lives of their children, but keeping the children’s best interest central is key.

You can do a lot to help your children pass through this confusion-laden phase of their lives.

First, let them be children. Children ask questions when they are anxious about the next move or confused about an unfolding situation they are not quite accustomed to. So, it is okay to let them express their feelings without being shut up. Now, when they do ask questions, answer them in an age appropriate manner like the original parent that you’ve always been. Be normal and consistent just as the previous years before the divorce came up. This reassures them that they have not lost their parents but are only undergoing a change from the normal.

Second, follow protocols. The parenting plan that was agreed upon will definitely have dos and don’ts that the PC will have explained to you and your soon to be ex-spouse. These protocols could include not probing into or snooping around about what happens at the other parent’s house, keeping the other parent informed about activities involving the children, not exposing your children to sensitive frustrations about the ongoing conflict with the other parent, and many others. Complying with these rules will make the children feel that they can still confide in either parent without having to take sides.

Finally, do not rely on your child for any kind of support whether emotionally, physically or mentally. It makes them feel like they are torn between their parents. You can draw attention, strength and support from family and friends, but not from your children. Let them express their love but do not make them feel as though they have to choose between you and the other parent. Despite how irresistible it feels to tear down the other parent, resist the urge to do so. The cumulative effect of all of these will only channel your energies into positivity and progress and you can then be sure that healthy adults will come forth from the shambles of a broken marriage.

Following these guidelines will allow your children to adapt to this time of change in your lives.

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Sometimes, divorce, family, estate, and bankruptcy matters are difficult to navigate. Fortunately, they do not have to be with the assistance of a compassionate, knowledgeable attorney who is willing to guide you every step of the way. If you need a seasoned firm to help you with any divorce, family or estate-related matter, please do not hesitate to contact Collis & Griffor today to schedule a consultation.

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