The pain and stress associated with divorce rank only second to the death of a loved one. While struggling with the legal, psychological, and financial issues associated with divorce, it is easy to overlook that your young ones need more attention than ever. The good news, however, is that children can successfully weather divorce if both parents follow some basic guidelines.
Here are practical measures that can help your children before, during, and after your divorce process.
Break the news together
It is important that you talk to your kids about your decision to live apart as soon as it is apparent. While there is no easy way to break this news, it is necessary that both parents are present for this conversation. And during this session, try as much as possible to keep expressions of guilt, anger, or blame at bay. Consider the children's ages, maturity, and temperament while having this discussion. Remember, the goal is to help the kids cope with the changes that are just about to happen.
Come up with a parenting plan
Basically, a parenting plan that will guide how you treat the kids before, during, and following your divorce. A well-developed parenting plan sets expectations surrounding the kids and helps eliminate conflicts that could affect their well-being.
Help the kids build resilience
Resilience is the ability to recover from difficult situations like divorce. And your kids will need a lot of it to overcome the pain of divorce, especially if there are unresolved parental conflicts. To develop resilience, your kids will need your unconditional love and support.
If you are getting divorced, it is important that you engage an experienced attorney who will help you navigate the process in a mutually agreeable and stress-free manner. Remember, the less acrimonious your divorce is, the easier it will be for your kids to move on.