Keeping Your Children in Mind During a Divorce
In the United States, researchers estimate that 40%–50% of all first marriages will end in divorce. Consequently, the lives of many children are negatively impacted by the process. You are not alone in experiencing the stresses of divorce – your children are experiencing it right along with you. In some cases, they are experiencing these stresses to a greater degree because they have no control over the process.
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According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the emotional impact that divorce has on children is ranked on the same level as death. The stress results in separation anxiety, mourning and depression. For children, divorce can bring overwhelming feelings of fear, confusion, uncertainty, as well as self-blame and anger.
If you and your spouse are currently undergoing the divorce process, here are a few ways you can help your child adjust.
- Talk to your children. Assure and re-assure your children of two things: One, this is not their fault; and two, their mother and father love them very much and that will never change.
- Maintain schedules and routines. Though change is inevitable, maintaining a consistent schedule of time sharing with each parent helps to reduce your child’s anxiety. It also brings some source of predictability and certainty back into their life. Children feel safer and more secure when they know what to expect next.
- Minimize verbal conflicts. Arguing in front of your children can trigger feelings of fear and helplessness in your child. Such open hostility teaches them to resolve disagreements through anger and lashing out. Set a good example to your children by showing them how to properly handle conflict. Studies have shown that parental conflict has a much more devastating effect on children than the divorce itself.
- Create a safe environment where your children can share their feelings openly. Divorce feels like a loss to children because they think they are losing their family. Regularly find time to sit down with your children to openly discuss these feelings. Listen attentively to their concerns and provide them with reassurance that they still have a family ─ just you and your spouse will not live in the same house anymore. You will find that open communication will aid the healing process.
- Seek professional help if necessary. If you are feeling overwhelmed or you need guidance, do not hesitate to seek professional help. The emotional impact divorce has on an individual is very real. Taking care of yourself first will better equip you to provide the necessary support for your children.
Remember, you and your children do not have to go through this process alone. Your Orlando divorce attorney can help your family successfully navigate through the challenges of divorce. For any questions or concerns, contact our law firm.