Arizona parents who are facing a divorce should be aware of how their kids might feel during the process. While it may not be a surprise to children who know something is wrong, it can still be shocking and upsetting. Children might feel hurt, angry or betrayed. They may feel sad and confused. They may even feel guilty, as if the breakup is their fault. Many also feel afraid and unsure of what the future holds.
Parents should consider reassuring their children that the divorce is not their fault. It would not have mattered if they fought less with their siblings or talked back to their parents. It would not have mattered if they had gone to bed on time or tried harder in school. They need to hear that this is a decision their parents have made because of how they feel about each other, and that there is nothing they could have done as children to change or prevent it. Parents should also try not to tell children how to feel. Some children react to divorce with understanding while others may misbehave and act out in a cry for help and attention.
It is also important for parents to remember that, by badmouthing the other spouse in front of a child, they are insulting half of that child. Children can identify characteristics and features in themselves from both parents, and this is something they should still get to celebrate. Parents should resist the urge to criticize each other in front of children who may apply those criticisms to themselves.
A parent who is going through a divorce may benefit from working with a divorce lawyer who can assist in negotiating a child custody agreement that is in the best interests of the child. Unless circumstances otherwise dictate, it is important to create a plan that maximizes the amount of time that a child is able to spend with each parent.