Divorce is a difficult subject, no matter what your age is. However, it can be especially difficult for children and teenagers to comprehend their parents’ divorce. With very little frame of reference and a limited view of how the world works, children often struggle when their parents separate. This can cause additional problems for the parents as well as for the legal process.
There is no magic way to ensure that your children will understand and accept your divorce. However, there are ways to approach the subject that may help them process what you are saying. Many of these discussions will be ongoing and require long-term communication with your children.
Our team at Stange Law Firm is committed to providing honest legal information to families facing legal claims. We are also here to represent you when you need an attorney. These tips may make your divorce discussion with your child more successful.
Use Age-Appropriate Information
Some parents bombard young children with too much information that they do not understand. Others do not offer teenagers and adult children enough information to understand what is going on. It is imperative that you tailor your discussion to the ages of your children. If necessary, split your children into age groups to speak with them, beginning with the oldest. This way, you can offer the information in the correct way for their developmental age.
Do Not Disparage Your Spouse
Whether you are talking to your children together or separately, keep your personal feelings about your spouse out of the conversation. Although you may have conflict with your spouse, they are still the children’s other parent, and the children love and respect them. Because of this, it is in poor taste to talk badly about your spouse to your children. It may even make custody deliberations more difficult.
Although this seems basic, it is important to reassure your children of all ages that they are not responsible for the divorce, nor are they responsible for caring for their parents during this tough time. There may be challenges and heightened emotions. Nevertheless, it is important for children to learn that their parents can manage their own emotional states.
If a child attempts to care for a parent in a divorce scenario, they are taking on complicated emotions that are far out of their developmental range. This can cause anxiety and other mental health issues in the short and long term.
Ask for Questions
Allow the children to ask questions if they wish. If they ask something that is inappropriate, simply tell them that you and their other parent will take care of the situation. If you do not know the answer to one of their questions, be honest and tell them so. Reassure them that you will work to find the answer and give it to them when you are able.
If you know the answer to their question and can present it in an age-appropriate way, do so. Your children should be empowered with as much information as is appropriate for them to have.
Talk About Routines
In times of upheaval, children benefit from understanding the ways in which things will remain the same. Outline the things that will stay the same and talk about routines that will not change. If you have to attend court or go to attorney meetings, tell them what their day will look like as a result. If someone else will pick them up from school or be with them at home, they should know that ahead of time. The fewer surprises, the better during this transitional time.
Finding extra ways to connect with your children during the divorce process can benefit both you and them. Encourage your spouse to do the same. Your entire family may feel better when the bonds between you are strengthened.
Q: Do I Need an Attorney for a Divorce in Lincoln?
A: Although an attorney is not legally required for your Lincoln divorce, it is in your interest to hire legal counsel. Having a lawyer represent you minimizes the amount of time that you need to interact with the spouse that you are divorcing. It also ensures that there is an advocate for your needs during negotiations or in court. Most divorces benefit from each spouse having an attorney.
Q: How Can I Support My Children During Divorce?
A: If necessary, enrolling them in therapy can help them process what is happening in a healthy way. When they can do this, the divorce does not become a large source of trauma in their life. You can also offer personal support and resources for them. Always make sure that they can talk to you if they need to. Finally, offering a stable routine can really help children adjust.
Q: Can My Children Decide Their Own Custody?
A: When children reach an age at which they can make informed decisions on their own, the court may take their wishes into account when assigning child custody. However, a child’s opinion is far from the only piece of information that the court will use. The law’s priority is child safety, and the court will assign custody arrangements based on what is most beneficial for the child or children at hand.
Q: What Happens If My Child Acts Out During My Divorce?
A: Divorce is a difficult topic for children to understand, so poor behavior and acting out are fairly normal responses. If your child begins to act out, speak with their teachers and the school guidance counselor. Make sure they know what is going on, and brainstorm resources for your child together. Most educators have experience with divorcing parents. They may have resources for you and your family.
Contact Stange Law Firm in Lincoln, NE
When you are going through a family law issue, every person on your team matters. Our attorneys at Stange Law Firm have extensive experience in this field. We offer reliable resources for you and your family.
For more, contact Stange Law Firm.