Children, especially young children, often believe a divorce is their fault. Parents involved in a divorce can find themselves focusing only on themselves, and forget that their children may be confused, hurt and scared.
Take the time to talk to your children, reassure them that everything is fine and that regardless of any differences between you and your spouse, both of you still love them. Some additional steps you can take to ease the prospect of a divorce on children:
- Take the time to explain to your children that any problems you and your spouse may be having are not their fault. Sometimes, a good approach is to explain to your children that people may sometimes have differences of opinion, and in some cases those differences just cannot be worked out.
- Do not argue or fight in front of the children. Remember, children are not deaf, they can hear, even behind closed doors, if the volume of the conversation is high enough.
- Do not bad-mouth your spouse in front of your children. Remember, he or she is still their parent too, and your children love both of you.
- Do not make your children take sides; they may resent you for that. They will also feel that they are being disloyal to you by continuing to love their other parent, and it is confusing to them.
- Never use your children as messengers or “go-betweens”.
- Constantly reinforce that everything will be all right, especially if the children are young.
- Make sure you don’t ignore your children. They need to know that their routines are not being affected (to the extent that is possible). In addition, any extra attention both of you can give to your children will help alleviate any fears they may have.
For divorces involving children, we suggest considering utilizing the collaborative law process for your divorce.
Collaborative law may provide you with an acceptable alternative to stressful litigation. The collaborative law process is premised on the parties working together to resolve conflict. The collaborative process encourages the parties to work together, with their attorneys, toward a mutual agreement that everyone can live with.
The collaborative law process is typically less stressful on children, gives you more control over the terms of the divorce, and is less emotionally taxing on you.
At Joanne E. Kleiner & Associates, Ms. Kleiner is a family law attorney and divorce lawyer who brings more than 25 years experience in family law and divorce to the table, including collaborative law experience. She is uniquely qualified to help you understand your options, properly advise you and help you achieve your goals. To discuss your divorce or family law matter in confidence with an experienced lawyer, please call Ms. Kleiner at 215-886-1266, or fill out our online intake form.