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3 Steps for Helping Your Kids Through Divorce

19/08/14 9:00 AM

Happy father and son

Divorcing a spouse represents an abrupt change in your lifestyle and daily routines. During this transition in your life, it is important to remember that this experience is equally difficult for your child to go through. As a divorce attorney, my clients frequently come to me for advice on how they can help their children through divorce. Due to these inquiries, I have created this post with some helpful tips.

  1. Be Sensitive, Understanding, and Patient

For your child, the notion that his or her parents are going through or have gotten a divorce is both sad and scary.  You’re not the only one going through a difficult time. A child’s life changes drastically when his or her parents divorce. Your child might express anger – even at you – and may lash out at other children in school. Instead of punishing your child, be rational with him or her. Explain to him or her that you understand their frustration because you are experiencing it as well. But make sure they also understand that they shouldn’t lash out at others because of it.

Above all, you must be patient with your child after going through a divorce. Just as you and your ex-spouse will take time to heal and move on from a divorce, your child also needs time to do so. Don’t jump to conclusions that something is wrong with your child simply because he or she suddenly seems angry or depressed. It is totally normal for a child to be angry or depressed after their parents go through a divorce. However, if the problem persists, you may want to have him or her talk to a therapist. Your child just might need to vent to someone other than you or your ex-spouse.

  1. Don’t Blame Them and Don’t Point Fingers

Far too often, a child will think that he or she was the cause of, or at least contributed to, his or her parent’s divorce. Be sure to make it clear to your child that he or she is not to blame for your divorce in any way – that this was a decision you and your ex-spouse came to for reasons unrelated to them.

It is also critical for you not to lay the blame on your ex-spouse for your divorce. In fact, you shouldn’t be saying any bad things about your ex-spouse in front of your children at all. It is important that your child doesn’t feel like he or she needs to pick sides, no matter how rough of a divorce it was. In the long run, you will want your child to love, respect and have a healthy relationship with your ex-spouse.

  1. Be Honest and Open

Be honest and upfront with your child about the divorce. His or her life is going to change drastically, and you owe it to your child to explain everything to them. Further, don’t give them any sense of false hope that you and your ex-spouse may eventually get back together. As a parent, making promises you can’t keep is never a good thing, especially in the context of divorce.

Make sure to let your child know that you are there for them – to answer any questions they may have, or just to listen to their concerns and feelings about the divorce. It is important to provide your child with an open, judgment-free environment during this difficult time.

For more information on how to help your child through a divorce, or for help through your divorce process, you can contact me here.

Posted by Stephen Lebedevitch | in Post Divorce | Comments Off on 3 Steps for Helping Your Kids Through Divorce

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