Divorces are never fun to go through, but they can be conducted “well,” so to speak. While the “less bad” option might not seem hopeful or optimistic to aim for, it’s true to say that your conduct and priorities throughout this process can certainly spare a great deal of chaos and difficulty for everyone involved.
And, of course, those who are most involved and affected will be your children. This is true even if your children may come from previous marriages or relationships. When their living situation changes, children notice and are worried about the future. Most of it is out of their hands, and this worry can sometimes develop into behavioral issues or anxieties that must be addressed.
In this post, then, we intend not to dwell on the difficulty of this process but rather help you seek refuge in your role as a parent, in the same token reassuring your children and helping the process have as minimal an impact on them as possible. With that in mind, let’s consider some of the following advice:
Being A Great Parent Despite Divorce Proceedings: Be Professional & Never Escalate
It’s important to be as professional as you can during this process. That’s not likely something you want to hear because nothing could be less professional and “corporate” than the breaking up of a family. But the truth is that being highly emotive, making personal attacks, and reacting when thinking will only make the issue more stressful for everyone, including your children.
That’s why it’s essential never to escalate or respond to those who may use low-brow tactics against you. However, if both parties agree to be as cordial as possible, this difficult process can be smoother. If anything, it fosters a healthier home environment and gives your ex-partner’s legal representation less ammunition if you’re dignified and resolution-oriented throughout this process.
You will thank yourself later for it, as you will have spared your children unpleasant memories.
Be Honest, But Spare The Details
Children are intelligent, and they understand a shift in their home situation. They may not understand all of it, but they need to be informed of the most essential details.
As such, you can help them stop worrying too much by guessing what’s been happening and instead give them some context. Tell them about the divorce, and emphasize what this may mean about their living situation, such as needing to move, living between two households for a while, or perhaps staying with your parents for a number of weeks.
Try not to make too many promises, but help them with the assurance that everything will be fine and they’re absolutely loved by both parties. You can spare the more intensive or emotional details. It’s always important to avoid disparaging the other parent in front of them.
This is often the worst tactic highly emotive individuals use within divorce proceedings, and all it does is confuse and harm the children. As such, ensure you provide a bulwark against this and only speak of your ex-partner favorably.
This latter point applies to the general means by which you approximate conduct in this situation. As Family Law Attorney Ben Carrasco will instruct you, you must never “score points” except by making cogent arguments through the correct channels to plead your case.
Playing games may involve exaggerating your side of the story, alleging false issues, allowing your ex-partner’s council to manipulate you, and acting in any other way than being candid, composed, and seeking a resolution. If you can focus on that, you actually simplify much of the concern about this process and can trust yourself to be the most stable anchor here. That may sound like a platitude, but it’s absolutely true.
This approach will also help you avoid taking emotional distress home or projecting that onto your children. This can help you sustain your parenting warmth despite the circumstances.
Provide Emotional Support
The truth is no matter how helpful both parties are, no matter how smooth the process is, it’s never pleasant for children to hear that their parents are splitting up. Even if your partner isn’t your child’s biological parent, if they’re familiar enough with them, this can be not easy to explain.
Being there for them and knowing it’s hard can be enough. This can help you remain attentive if your child is acting out in school if they need help processing their frustration, or if they need to find a more calm environment in the meantime, like staying with their grandparents.
Never discount the benefit of a warm evening spent together, many warm hugs, and a calming, reassuring tone. This can mean the world to a child, especially during confusing situations.
As discussed above, it’s always important to ensure you have the best family lawyer with you. Professional assistance, family counseling, or perhaps even services such as social workers that can help you mediate difficult home situations can be ideal for providing the best environment.
If you work a career, it may also be ideal to discuss your current home situation with your boss. While you may not seek special treatment for the issue, making them aware of the difficulties and strain this is having on your children can help them help you, be that you need to remote work one day a week, or have access to HR resources to assist you in the meantime.
Children’s Well-Being First
It’s hard to say there are “winners” in divorce, but if there’s anyone who should approximate that potential status, it’s your children. Remember, you’re an intelligent, capable, and dependable person, so you can always rebuild, redevelop, and reorient your life in the best manner that suits you. But children rely on you and don’t have the same opportunities.
As such, if a divorce may be unpleasant for you to go through but ultimately ends up with the best possible solution for your children, that’s absolutely a victory worth enjoying. Always prioritize the best outcome for them.
With this advice, we hope you can use some sensitive and dependable insight for managing this tough time for you, your ex-partner, and your children.