Divorce is never easy, particularly when there are children involved. Kids may not be old enough to understand anything about the divorce beyond the fact that their world, as they know it, will change completely. And while it is okay to feel stressed or overwhelmed by a pending marital separation, you should pay extra attention to the children to make sure that they are not suffering as a result of your stress. After all, you as a parent are the rock keeping the kids grounded. Here are some tips to help your children cope through this uneasy time:
- Minimize extra stress on the children. They have it hard enough knowing that their parents are separating. While it is okay to give children chores to do, the kids should not have to pick up any excess slack. Don’t make them do all of the cooking or cleaning, for example, just because the parent who used to do those chores is no longer around.
- Don’t talk about adult things around the kids. They don’t need to know about your money issues, or stress or any problems between you and your ex-spouse. Using your children as a way of venting these frustrations will only serve to make the divorce more difficult for them. Speak to a close friend or family member who is an adult.
- Do not make the older children act as a babysitter for the younger children. This is an easy way to force a child to grow up too fast. A child in his or her late teens can perhaps shoulder the responsibility every once in a while, but a younger child should not be babysitting. Call a family member or a friend.
- If you start dating someone new, keep the kids out of it until you are certain that the relationship will be long-term. You must be sure that your new partner is someone you want your children to build a relationship with. Otherwise, you could hurt the children even more if you and your new partner separate.
If your divorce is particularly taxing, you and your spouse could benefit from divorce mediation. In the video below, Attorney Kathlyn Laraway describes what you should expect from mediation:
Divorce Matters ”“ Denver Family Law Attorneys
Did You Know?: Half of all American children will witness the breakup of a parent’s marriage. Of these children, close to half will also see the breakup of a parent’s second marriage.