Every year over half a million marriages end every year. In 2020, there were 630,505 divorces and annulments in the United States. Going through a divorce is never easy—especially when you have children involved.
When you have children, the process can be even more difficult. You not only have to deal with the emotional stress of the situation, but you also have to consider what is best for your children. Here are some tips on how to manage your children while going through a divorce.
Talk to your children about what is happening
It is important to be open and honest with your children about what is happening. They need to know that the divorce is not their fault and that you still love them very much. Explain the situation in age-appropriate terms, so they can understand what is happening. It is also important to listen to their concerns and answer any questions they may have.
For example, you might say, “Mom and Dad are getting a divorce. This means we will live in different homes, but you will still see both of us regularly. We love you very much, and we will still be your parents.”
Similarly, if you have older children, you might say, “We have decided to divorce because we are not happy together. This doesn’t mean we don’t love you, and we will both still be involved in your life.”
Reassure them that they are not responsible
It is common for children to feel like they are responsible for their parent’s divorce. They may think that if they had been better behaved or done better in school, their parents would still be together. It is important to reassure them that they are not responsible for the divorce and that nothing they did or didn’t do caused it.
One of the easiest ways to do this is to avoid speaking negatively about your ex in front of your children. If you badmouth their other parent, it will only make them feel more responsible and confused. Instead, try to focus on the positive aspects of the divorce, such as being able to spend more time with each parent.
Create a parenting plan
A parenting plan is a document that outlines how you and your ex will co-parent your children. It should include things like visitation schedules, custody arrangements, and decision-making rights. Parenting plans can be created with the help of a mediator or attorney. Or, you and your ex can create one on your own.
If you have a parenting plan in place, it will make things much easier for you and your children. They will know what to expect, and they will feel more secure knowing that there is a plan in place.
It would be best that you hire a family lawyer to help you with the legal aspects of your divorce and to create a parenting plan. They will assess your situation and help you create a plan that is in the best interest of your children. The lawyer will also be able to help you navigate the divorce process and protect your rights.
Make sure you and your children have a support system
Your children will need a support system to help them through this difficult time. This can include family members, friends, teachers, or counselors. Let your children know they can come to you with any problems or concerns. Also, be sure to check in with them regularly to see how they are doing.
Moreover, you will need all the support you can get during this time, so don’t be afraid to seek out help from family and friends. There are also many divorce support groups available if you need some added assistance. Talking to others who are going through the same thing can be very helpful and provide some much-needed perspective.
Try to maintain a sense of normalcy
Finally, while your family life may be in flux, it is important to try to maintain a sense of normalcy for your children. Keep them in the same routines as much as possible and try to limit any major changes in their lives. This will help them feel safe and secure during a time of uncertainty.
For instance, if you have joint custody, make sure your children are dropped off and picked up on time. Similarly, if they usually spend weekends with their other parent, try to stick to that schedule as much as possible.
While divorce can be a difficult and emotional time for everyone involved, it is important to remember that your children are going through a lot as well. By following these tips, you can help make the process a little bit easier for them.
Also, remember, you are not alone—many people go through this every day and come out stronger on the other side.