Going through a divorce can be a trying time for all family members. While the Law Offices of William L. Geary can assist the adults in separating finances, custody concerns, and living arrangements, it can be easy to overlook the needs of the children impacted by the decision to divorce. Supporting children through this time of stress and anxiety is important as it can affect their development.
Open communication between parents and their children is imperative during this transition. Children thrive with structure and stability, both elements that are lost during a divorce. When possible, both parents should explain the situation to your child in an age-appropriate way, stressing that the situation is not the child’s fault and reiterating that both parents will continue to love and care for the child. With younger children, it may be helpful to illustrate the arrangements with dolls or drawings to help the child understand the changes.
Keep the lines of communication open with your child. Remind him or her that you are always willing to talk about the situation and feelings that may arise. Parents should refrain from speaking negatively about the other parent during this process. Do not force your child to choose sides in the conflict. It is important that children understand that both parents will continue to be involved in raising the child.
During this difficult time, it can be helpful to develop a support system, for yourself and for your child. These relationships can provide a safe place for your child to confide. Support groups for children can also help your son or daughter to recognize that others are facing similar situations, providing support and encouragement during this transition.
Continue to observe your child during this time. If you notice signs of anger or other changes in behavior, it may be necessary to reach out to a therapist to help process your child’s feelings regarding the divorce and to build coping strategies to manage difficult feelings that may arise.
You can help to support your child through this transition with open, honest communication and developing a healthy support system for them. Continue to observe your child for changes and be proactive to meet their needs. This is a difficult situation for everyone, but your children have little resources to effectively navigate this time.
If you have questions or concerns about the divorce process and child custody issues, please contact our Columbus family law attorney today at (614) 289-1227.