If divorce or separation is stressful on the parents, then it can be downright traumatic for any children involved.
Usually, what happens is that:
- Children don’t understand why mommy & daddy are getting divorced, but they think it’s their fault
- Parents don’t realize that they could be harming their kids through their words and actions
At Carpenter Law, we always look out for the best interests of the children, first and foremost.
By stepping back and thinking with a clear head (which admittedly is tough during this challenging time), you can help minimize the negative impacts which divorce will have on your children and help them make the transition more positive and smooth.
1. Consider mediation & arbitration
Going to court (and exposing children to it) can be harmful and detrimental to all parties involved.
If you and your ex-spouse are divorcing or separating on amicable terms, then you may be able to avoid the courtroom through mediation & arbitration.
In addition to keeping things outside of the courtroom, mediation & arbitration has additional benefits:
- Everything that’s said during mediation & arbitration is private and not part of the public record
- It encourages open lines of communication, which can be used to set a positive example for your children
Even if you have hateful feelings towards your ex-spouse, choosing litigation when it isn’t necessary will:
- Drag out the process even longer
- Make it more expensive
- Cause even more harm towards your children
2. Keep your children away from the theatrics
Suddenly, your children have gone from living as a single family under one roof to life in two different households.
When they are spending time with you, support your children by giving them all of your attention when you focus on activities which they love doing.
Don’t dwell on the details of your divorce or pry for details about life at the “other house.”
It’s not their job to be an intermediary or a source of information between the two homes.
It’s their job to be kids and your job is to protect and love them.
Some other things to avoid when you’re with your children:
- Don’t argue with your ex-spouse in front of them
- Don’t speak badly about your ex to your kids
3. Get them a therapist to talk to
Whatever stigmas or stereotypes you have about therapists or counsellors, put them aside.
Using a child therapist can help your kids tremendously because it gives them a neutral third party to talk to about their feelings without any fear of judgement.
While you’re at it, you should consider getting yourself a therapist too.
At some point, all the emotions you have will need to come to the surface to be shared. And the last thing you want is to spill out all the anger, hate and frustrations you have to your kids.
4. Relax and spoil yourself too
The old cliché goes that you can’t take care of anyone else until you take care of yourself first.
To that end, carve out some time to treat yourself.
You’re incredibly stressed out during this, well, stressful time. Despite your best efforts, it will impact your ability to be the best parent you can be to your children.
That isn’t a flaw or a slight. It’s just a fact.
If the kids are at your ex’s home for the night, use the free time and quiet to do something – anything – that will make you feel good and ease some of the tension of the situation.
That way, when you get to see the kids again, you’ll have the energy and positive attitude needed to take full advantage of your time together.
5. Always love and remind them that divorce is not their fault
This cannot be overstated (or even overdone).
To you, it’s obvious that the divorce & separation isn’t their fault.
To them, that may be all they can think about. Since children often internalize their feelings, they’ll never tell you anyway if that’s how they feel.
Whenever appropriate, always tell your kids that both mom and dad love them tremendously and that it’s important for them to have healthy relationships with both parents.
Lastly, tell them that the problems are between mom and dad only. Not the kids.
Contact us for your family law consultation
If your marriage has come to an end, it can be difficult to know what to do.
Firstly, you need to make sure your kids are protected during the family law process.
We’ll get back to you within 24 hours to personally discuss your family law situation and get you on the right path to resolving your issue with compassion and understanding.