Divorce is a stressful experience for children and, regardless of their age, they will likely need some help adjusting to the changes brought on by your split. Your children might feel worried about the future, shocked, angry, or even responsible for the divorce. Although you and your spouse know that your decision to get a divorce was not influenced by your children, this is an uncertain time for them, and they may not understand that.
How to Help Your Children Cope
After you tell your children about the divorce, it is important to be as available as possible to them in the aftermath. They may need some time to process the information, but they will eventually have some questions, and you will need to do your best to answer them. The more clarity you can provide, the less anxious they will feel about the future. For example, they may ask if they can continue to attend the same school or if they will have the same friends. Knowing the answer to this can address some of their uneasiness.
Here are some other tips that will help your children cope with your divorce:
- Encourage your children to be honest about their feelings and let them know that they will be taken seriously. If they are having trouble expressing their feelings, try to help them put it into words.
- Validate your children’s feelings. Whether they are feeling sad or worried, let them know that it is okay to feel that way. It is also okay for them to feel excited about the future, especially if your marriage was so tense that it created an uncomfortable environment.
- Your children might not know what kind of support to ask for, so offer some ideas that may help. Consider going out for a walk together and talking or, if your children are particularly young, comfort them by offering them their favorite stuffed animal.
- Do not talk to your children about the details of why your marriage failed. The details of your divorce will not help your children cope with this situation and, in all likelihood, it may even make them feel like they have to choose sides.
Recovering from this divorce may be difficult, but you and your former spouse can help teach your children healthy coping mechanisms as they adjust to their new normal.
Discuss the Details of Your Divorce with a Compassionate Family Law Attorney
If you are getting a divorce, reach out to the family law team at the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Graff. Our attorney is backed by more than 35 years of experience and a commitment to guiding clients through some of the most sensitive legal matters.
Reach out to our law office at (805) 633-4999 to set up an initial consultation.