Divorce is a difficult time in anyone’s life, but if you’re a parent, it’s also a difficult time for your children. Throughout the process, you want to be there for them, to support and reassure them. However, this can be difficult for a divorcing parent. Here’s a quick list of five ways to effectively support children through a divorce.
1. Encourage honesty.
Divorces are difficult for everyone involved. Just as you may visit a therapist who encourages you to speak openly and honestly without judgment, you should encourage your children to do the same with you. Let them say exactly what is on their mind.
It’s very important that while you encourage honest conversation, you also listen.
One of the best things you can do as a parent is listen to your children. Make sure that you listen with open ears and an open mind. Try to fully understand what they’re saying. Making them feel heard and seen is what’s important.
Be prepared for situations where your children may say things that are hurtful or hostile towards you. Do your best to curb the knee-jerk response of rebuttal or justification. Remember, this is not about you explaining yourself or justifying your actions. It’s about you listening to your children and hearing their thoughts and concerns.
3. Make sure you and your former spouse both get to spend quality time with them.
During this difficult time, it’s important for your children to get to spend quality time with both parents. Create a custody arrangement that is fair to both parents and stick to it. Also, if your children have school programs, activities, or sporting events, make sure that your former spouse is notified. It’s just as important for you to be at these events as it is for your former spouse to be there.
4. Stay positive.
When you are speaking to your children, try to stay upbeat and positive about the situation. Do your best to not speak negatively about your former spouse. The last thing your children want during this difficult time is negativity aimed towards their other parent. Parents should be unified and respectful of each other, even if they are divorced spouses.
5. Seek professional help.
If your children are having a difficult time adjusting to this important life change, don’t be afraid to seek help. Therapists help us process our thoughts and feelings in a constructive way. They give us important tools for coping and accepting unpleasant changes. Remember, if you feel like you are unable to help your children cope appropriately with your divorce, get professional help.
We Are Here to Help
If you are in the San Francisco area and contemplating a divorce, contact Fenchel Family Law. We’re ready to answer any questions that you may have about California family law, and our dedicated family law team is ready to help you get the solution you seek. Contact us or give us a call today at (415) 805-9069!