Divorce can be a crisis for kids, and things they ordinarily depend on may seem like they’re turned upside-down. While your North York divorce lawyer is hard at work on your case, take a little time to consider your kids and what they might be going through. Your kids can come out of this divorce healthy, happy and strong—it just takes a little time, energy and commitment on your part.
Facilitate Good Relationships
Usually one parent leaves the home during a divorce, which can throw kids off balance. Whether you’re the custodial parent or the non-custodial parent, make sure the kids know both you and their other parent still love them.
Make the most of the visitation schedules you’ve worked out with your North York divorce lawyer. Don’t skimp on time (or force your ex to do so), because your kids need to establish a new sense of normalcy that continues to include both parents.
If your ex has repeated issues when it comes to spending time with your kids, whether he or she is chronically late or absent, or you suspect any type of abuse, let your North York divorce lawyer know right away.
Stick to Routines
Keeping your kids on a routine during and after your divorce will help them adjust to the new “normal.” Try to keep their original routines in place as best you can; if they’re in after-school sports, clubs or activities, try to keep the momentum going. If they express interest in starting extracurricular activities, and you can work them in, let them—it’ll help them create their own routines to balance themselves.
Talk it Out
Although you’re busy with work, meetings with your North York divorce lawyer and everyday life, it’s important to take time out to connect with your kids, according to experts at Ohio State University in the U.S. They need to know you’re listening, and that alone can make a huge impact on their resilience.
As you have feelings-based conversations with your kids, remember:
- Listening is more important than talking
- Avoid “you shouldn’t feel sad over this”-type statements
- Validating their feelings is most important, because they’ll feel comfortable opening up to you now and in the future
Minimize Visible Conflict and Avoid Backtracking
Naturally, divorce puts you and your ex at odds. Through the stress of divorce, many people either hold out hope that they and their ex will get back together or allow their relationship to completely break down. If either of these applies to you, don’t let the kids see it.
When parents fight in front of kids (which might be the reason you landed in a North York divorce lawyer’s office in the first place), it causes inner conflict; they want to support both parents, but feel that they can only support one.
Children who see parents waffling back-and-forth, sometimes expressing affection toward one another (or staying the night, or spending “romantic” time together) will not be able to resign themselves to the fact that mom and dad are no longer together.
Most kids come through divorce just fine, and aren’t at any significant risk of having long-term behavior issues or emotional problems. By helping your kids adjust now, you’ll be setting them up for a happy, emotionally healthy future.