Parents who are considering divorce often worry about how their decisions will affect their children. Will they handle the split well, or will they feel deeply traumatized?
If you do make the decision to split, it’s important to understand that you can take steps to reduce the traumatic feelings your children will experience. Here are two tips:
Provide realistic expectations about the future
Your children need realistic expectations. Children often worry about material matters, such as whether their beloved blanket will move from one home to the other and what their room will look like in a new house.
It’s important to acknowledge the changes the kids are going to face without either “hyping things up” or sounding depressing. Be prepared to answer as many questions as possible, and admit it when you don’t know the answers.
Discuss contentious matters at appropriate times
The children shouldn’t see the conflicts that come along with a child custody agreement. Never try to pass messages through them to the other parent. Instead, talk directly to your ex about anything that has to be discussed. This should be done in private, and preferably not at a time when the children are transitioning from home to the other.
As you work out your new co-parenting relationship with your ex-spouse, you need to develop a written parenting plan that reflects your children’s current needs and anticipates some of the thornier issues you and your ex may have to face. Experienced legal guidance can help you craft a custom agreement that works for your unique family situation.