Helping Children Adjust to Divorce
While divorce is hard on everyone involved, children are the most at risk for harm when a family unit splits up. This is true even when a divorce is cooperative and relatively amicable.
Your Dallas family attorney will help you work out the details of your child custody agreement with your spouse, but the really hard work is going to be helping your children adjust to their new reality of parents living apart.
The American Academy of Pediatrics offers the following recommendations for divorcing parents to help their children adjust to divorce:
Be consistent and stable.
Children need continuity, familiarity, and predictability. Children will adjust much better to divorce when they can count on stability.
If possible, try to keep them on the same daily routine and in the same school. Let them continue to interact with familiar babysitters and friends and, if possible, let them stay in their current bedroom. This is important for children of all ages. If children are staying with both parents, try to establish a routine at each home and stick to it.
Fight fair in private.
Parents should do everything they can to overcome their hostility towards the other parent and focus on the benefits the children will have from continuing their relationship with the child’s other parent.
To the extent possible, shield your children from conflict with your ex-spouse. Keep peace and remain calm in front of the children. If you are arguing, try to keep it away from the kids. If they do see you and your ex having a disagreement, try to keep it civil and respectful.
Be up front about what is happening.
Tell children what is going on. Explain the divorce and give them details about what to expect. In a way appropriate to their ages, let them know who is going to live where, how and when they will see the parent that is moving out, and let them know that the divorce is not their fault. It is important that they know the divorce is permanent.
Be sympathetic and reassuring.
It is normal for children to feel and express sadness, fear, anxiety, depression, and anger. Acknowledge these feelings and help them cope as best you can.
Let them know that everything will be okay and that both you and your spouse love them.
Be consistent with rules.
Sometimes parent will try to overcompensate when there is a divorce by becoming overly relaxed with long-held family rules. Along with providing affection and reassurance, children need parents to enforce rules that require age appropriate behavior enforced by rational discipline.
A Dallas Family Attorney Can Help
Your Dallas family attorney will work with you to craft a child custody arrangement that is in the best interest of your children. Ideally, both you and your ex-spouse will work together toward the common goal of helping the children emerge from the process with as little stress as possible.
For divorce and child custody representation, contact Dallas divorce lawyer Michael Granada either online or by calling 214-977-9050 to schedule an appointment.