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Five steps to take to protect your children during your divorce

On Behalf of | Jan 15, 2024 | Family Law

It’s tough getting through divorce. The financial implications can leave you uncertain of your financial future, but the emotional pain and turmoil can be crushing, even if you’ve seen divorce coming for a while now. There are steps that you can take to make it a little easier to get through your divorce, but what about your children?

Although they’re resilient, children are also incredibly vulnerable. That’s probably left you riddled with fear about how your divorce will impact their emotional and psychological well-being. These are understandable concerns, and a poorly handled divorce can cause damage to your children. However, you don’t have to allow your children to bear the brunt of your marriage dissolution.

You, like most parents, think your children are precious and worth fighting for. In that case, proactiveness is your best bet for keeping them safe during the divorce process. Here are some steps you can take to ensure you’re doing everything you can to protect your children and their best interests:

  1. Allow your children to grieve: The loss of their parents’ marriage is like losing a part of their family. As a result, your children are going to experience a variety of emotions, and some of them could be intense. Allow your children to experience those emptions in a healthy fashion. Don’t force them to suppress how they’re feeling or make them feel guilty for feeling a certain way.
  2. Really listen to them: With so much running through their mind, your children have a lot to say. They may be hesitant to discuss their feelings at first but encourage them to speak without judgment. And, when they do start talking about the divorce and how it makes them feel, really listen to them so that you can understand where they’re coming from and can adequately answer their questions. Be honest when talking with them, and, if they struggle to find words for their emotions, try to help them do so.
  3. Keep your kids out of the middle of your divorce: Regardless of how you feel about your spouse or the difficulties you’re having in communicating with them, keep your children out of it. Don’t use your kids as messengers, don’t speak poorly about the other parent when your kids are around, and don’t do anything that forces your children to choose sides.
  4. Provide stability: A divorce can sew chaos throughout your children’s lives, but you can help alleviate some of the accompanying stress and worry by providing stability where you can. That might include implementing consistent discipline amongst households, sticking to your children’s extracurricular activities schedule despite sharing time between households, and having a holiday schedule that doesn’t disrupt the time they spend with extended family members.
  5. Give reassurance: Children oftentimes internalize the bad things that happen in life. This means that they might secretly think that they’re somehow at fault for the divorce or that there’s something they could’ve done to help keep your marriage together. Reassure your children that they’re not to blame for you marriage dissolution and that you and their other parent will continue to love them, no matter what.

Focus on protecting your children during your divorce

While talking to your children and being available to them can help keep them safe during your marriage dissolution, there may be more to do. For example, you might want to seek a specific type of child custody arrangement that restricts parenting time or sets parameters around the other parent’s visitation.

Ultimately, you need to advocate for an outcome that supports your children’s best interests. By doing so, you can rest assured that you’ve done everything you can to give your children the future they deserve.