What can you do to help your child adjust to divorce?

From your child’s first steps to their first day of school, you guided them through it all. Now that your family is going through a divorce, you’ll be able to work with your ex-spouse and co-parent to help familiarize your child with the all the newness they will experience.

You can make your child more comfortable with change through including them in the early stages of the process. Working together with your spouse to care for your children, even after you separate, will be crucial. It’s also important to know that you might not have all the answers at times.

Talking about divorce

Once you decide to finalize your divorce, there’s going to be many details for you to work through with your ex. As you take these steps and still care for your children under roof, it can be helpful to let them know about your decision to separate from one another. Keeping your children in the know early on may help them warm up to the abrupt adjustments that are soon to come. If you don’t want your children to hear conflicting or different versions of your reasons to divorce, then you should plan to sit down with both your ex and all your children at the same time when you share your plans for the first time.

Keeping your connection strong

Letting your children know that you will be there for them is one thing, but when you are fully present, physically and emotionally, it might make a world of difference in their lives. In fact, there is psychological research that reveals that when children don’t have a strong bond with their parents, then changes to family structure can be more difficult to accept.

As you separate from your spouse, you can help your children by getting along with your ex. You may disagree with your co-parent on many topics. But if you show your children that you can get along, then that gives them more reason to trust and have a better relationship with both of you. You can set the stage for your children to have a positive relationship with both parents by:

  • Keeping rude remarks about your ex to yourself
  • Communicating directly with your ex instead of having your children be a messenger
  • Not buying an excess of material items to try to prove your love

Getting outside help

Sometimes part of parenthood is seeking expert help. For example, if your child needed stiches after tripping down the stairs, you wouldn’t pull out your sewing kit. You’d probably drive straight to the emergency room instead. When it comes to emotional wounds or stress your child may experience as they begin living between two homes, there is therapy and support out there. There are also experienced family law attorneys who can help you come up with a settlement that meets the expectations of you and your ex and the needs of your children.

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