Divorce never is easy, but if you have children the issues are complicated in a way that differs from the economic issues. Spousal and child support and division of property involves mostly you and your spouse. If you have children, they are affected at every stage of your divorce. ..and how you deal with your children from the very start of your separation through the children’s adulthood can have profound impact.
Oftentimes parents think they can protect their children from the struggles of their parents. Unhappy couples may stay together for the sake of the children. Child psychologies differ on whether, in fact, this does children well. Children are extremely sensitive and pick up on the tension, anger, and hurt that parents may be experiencing — even if parents may be “putting on a good face.” Thus, the idea of “sticking it out” until the kids are grown, while well intentioned, may not be the best choice—especially if the level of discord between the parents is high.
If you have decided to separate, involving your children suitably in the separation and divorce process is exceedingly important. Child development experts agree that being upfront with children and telling them what is happening should be a major consideration. Edward Kruk, PhD., advises that you should talk with your children about divorce.
- Provide facts about what is happening between mommy and daddy without going into the reasons. You can let your children know that their parents have differences and will no longer be living together, but you do not have to give the reasons why.
- Allow children their questions, and answer them honestly. This is essential. Your children may want to know what will happen to them; where they will sleep, will they still see their friends and family, whether they will have to move. Be clear about what will happen in your children’s lives.
- Remind the children that both parents love them and that the cause of the parent’s split has nothing to do with the children this is critical.
Children may fantasize that parents will get back together. It is best to not let them indulge this fantasy to excess.
Dr. Fran Walfish a family and relationship psychotherapist and the author of The Self-Aware Parent: Resolving Conflict and Building a Better Bond with Your Child adds the following tips for the newly divorced or divorcing parents: Continue reading