Helping Your Children Cope With Divorce

Except in the best of cases, it is rare for anyone going through a divorce to declare it easy. When minor children are involved, it can be even more difficult. Here are three tips to help you help your children get through the process as painlessly as possible.

Don't Use Your Child(ren) To Wound Your Spouse

You are divorcing your spouse, not your children. You may be angry with your spouse, but you can't expect your children to be angry with them as well, not for the same reasons, anyway. Don't use your children as pawns in grownups' games. Even if you suspect your spouse if talking badly about you to the kids, don't stoop to their level. Find something nice to say about your spouse. Give your children good thoughts and memories. Take the high road, and encourage your spouse to do the same.

Allow Your Children To Express Their Feelings

It's unrealistic to expect your kids to not have deep feelings about the situation. Their life as they know it is suddenly in upheaval, too. They may have had to downsize to a smaller home or share a bedroom now. They may have had to change schools or cut back on activities to help out more around the house or with younger siblings. They likely miss having the other parent always accessible. Resentment, anger, insecurity, and fear should be expected. It is difficult enough for adults to deal with strong emotions; children have even fewer coping skills. It's not like they can pour a glass of wine or head out for a night on the town to get away from it all. They are relying on their parents to help them through it.

Take Care Of Yourself

Oftentimes, children will take out their frustration on the parent with primary custody. It's difficult to balance empathy while still making sure they do their homework and chores and follow the rules. You can't take care of them if you aren't taking care of yourself. Get counseling, for both yourself and them, if need be. Eat properly, exercise, practice your faith, and rely on your friends and family members to give you a break or to step in and speak to a difficult child. Any divorce lawyer will tell you that you have to be very careful in your interactions with your children if you don't want to cause them—or your case—damage. 

For more information and advice, contact a family lawyer at a law firm such as Campbell, Dille, Barnett & Smith, P.L.L.C.