According to “Life Course” by Furstenberg, Peterson, Nord, and Zill, half of all American children will witness a breakup of a parent’s marriage. There is no doubt that divorce is an emotional and stressful journey for a family, but it can be extremely difficult and stressful if there is a child or children involved.
For the sake of your child, be proactive and be able to cooperate with your spouse as you both go through the divorce process. Summarized from the Mayo Clinic, consider these six tips to foster your child’s peace of mind during the divorce process.
How To Discuss Your Divorce With Your Children:
1. Breaking The News. Set aside time for you and your spouse to tell your child about your divorce. Explain honestly and simply why you and your spouse are divorcing and not mention the “ugly details.” Explain to your child the decision was based on us not getting along, you are not the reason for us divorcing, and we both love you as much as ever.
2. Consoling Your Child. It is natural your child will immediately develop a set of questions and emotions. Where will I live? When will I see dad? Who will take me to piano lessons? As you work to settle your divorce, keep your child’s routine the same as best as you can. In some circumstances where you have to start a new routine, be able to adjust quickly. It is important to ensure your child feels more secure.
Your child will also feel a mix of emotions including anger, depression, withdrawal, grief and relief. Be sure to set open lines of communication between you and your child and encourage them to open up and share their feelings.
3. Keeping Your Child Out Of The Fight. As we mentioned, ensure your child feels more secure. Your child should never be caught in the middle of the “ugly details” and conflicts. Keep in mind the following “don’ts”:
- Don’t argue in front of your child.
- Don’t speak badly about your spouse in front of your child and their peers.
- Don’t discuss issues regarding your divorce proceedings and settlement anytime you are in the presence of your child.
- Don’t ask your child to be your messenger and pawn.
- Don’t force your child to choose sides.
4. Don’t Bend The Rules. Don’t break a healthy habit because of your divorce. Children need structure and a consistent routine even if they are trying to test the boundaries. It is in yours and their best interest to have a happy and healthy environment they can grow in. Keep a balance in both households by having your child stick to a normal routine.
5. Seeking Counseling. Without a doubt, divorce is a very emotional and stressful journey. You and your family do not have to go through the divorce process alone. Be open to the opportunity for counseling and mediation. Consult with your team of divorce and family law attorneys, social services representatives, school counselors and even your healthcare provider. Keeping an open line of communication will not only benefit your child, but also you as you start your new life.
6. Putting Your Child First. Put your best foot forward and interact with your spouse in a civilized manner, even if it might be the last thing you want to do. Your child needs both their parents. It will be in your child’s best interests to meet in the middle when it comes to decisions about alimony, child custody and child support. It will take a major toll on your child’s emotional and mental health the longer you battle these issues. Compromise and support will be two key factors for putting your child first.
Speak To Our Caring Atlanta Divorce and Family Law Attorneys
Let our team of Atlanta divorce and family law attorneys help support you through this process. Contact us today for a consultation. With three offices in Atlanta, Alpharetta and Marietta, we proudly serve our clients throughout the Atlanta metropolitan area. Call us at 770-280-1488 or submit a contact form here today.