09 Apr 2019
Divorce or separation can be a painful and difficult time for all involved, but the emotional and practical aspects of a breakup can be especially hard for children. It’s natural to want to protect children as much as possible from the upsetting aspects of a divorce, but it’s likely they’ll feel a confusing mix of emotions; from shock to anger, sadness or guilt. It’s never going to be an easy time, but as a parent there are some steps you can take to help guide your children through the upheaval of a breakup. If you’re struggling with a divorce or separation and not sure how to navigate the process when children are involved, see below for a few tips that can help.
This goes both ways; of course you’ll want the information to be age appropriate but try to explain what is happening and the reasons why as honestly as possible. Children are likely to feel very unsettled and confused, so some transparency about the situation can go a long way. Also try to encourage children to be honest with you about their feelings, whatever they are. If they are particularly young or struggling to express themselves you could try drawing, or get them to write things down in a safe place.
Some divorces are more acrimonious than others, but whatever the situation it’s vital to avoid blaming the other partner in front of your children. Parents bad mouthing each other can put children in an awkward position of feeling they have to pick sides, or they may feel guilty for wanting to maintain a close relationship with both parents.
It might be tricky to coordinate at first, but it’s important to maintain consistency and a sense of routine, even if the parents now live in separate houses. Stick to the same rules about things such as bedtimes, snacks and screen time, and communicate as much as possible. Children feel safer and more secure if they know what to expect, and maintaining a similar daily routine can provide some stability in an otherwise turbulent time.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help from friends, family members or professionals during this stressful time. It helps everyone if parents have a support system to lean on and vent any difficult feelings so they don’t get passed onto the children. A family lawyer can be an invaluable help too, they can sort out the practical aspects of a divorce or separation and help you reach the most painless solution for all involved.
If you’re looking for an expert family lawyer to help guide you through a divorce or separation, get in touch with Gard & Co. Based in Plymouth, our professional team specialise in a constructive, non-confrontational approach and are on your side every step of the way. To arrange an initial free consultation, give us a call on 01752 668246.