Children of divorcing couples inevitably go through a huge range of emotions when their lives are being turned upside down by the divorce process. Relationships between the adults can easily become bitter and acrimonious, so it is essential to protect children from the worst aspects of the break up.
Tip 1 – think of the children first!
By taking the conscious step of putting the children at the centre of their concerns both parents will do much to ease the stress and anxiety felt by their children. Time may be a great healer, but a more pro-active approach to the children’s well-being during the divorce will bring immediate and lasting rewards.
Tip 2 – if your children are young – explain it to them in an age-appropriate way and take the time to reassure them
Studies have shown that pre-school age children will show more feelings of anxiety during and after the divorce, but will adapt better than older children as time passes. Emphasising the continued love of both parents will ease younger children’s feelings of rejection, and maintaining past family routines will help their feelings of security and stability.
Tip 3 – if your children are older – make the effort to answer their questions and be available
While older children will understand more about what is going on through the divorce process, it is likely that they will cope less well and may suffer from longer-term problems. They may look back on happier times before the divorce, and in comparing life before and after they will see clearly how their family life has changed. If not dealt with properly the effects of divorce on a child can last a lifetime, and even lead to them cutting off all contact with one or both parents in later life.
Tip 4 – be aware of the impact of it all on you
The first two years of a divorce are likely to be the most difficult, although in some cases it may take five years to work through and deal with the many issues and emotions that emerge. If you need help to get through it, seek specialist counselling. By adopting a child-centred approach to the divorce from the outset, the impact on all members of the family will be greatly reduced. Children who have been subject to a troubled family life may now look more positively on parents who can put their differences aside and work out a respectful and reasonable divorce settlement.
Tip 5 – take a step back and try to see the bigger picture
It’s easy to get off on the wrong foot when separation is looming, with feelings of betrayal and hurt leading to a climate of accusation and blame. Call a truce! It’s never too late to adopt a child-centred approach, even if the process has started off badly. Focussing on the children’s emotional, psychological and physical needs during the months and years after the divorce will go a long way to proving how loving, caring and compassionate both parents are, not simply the one with whom the children spend more of their time. Acting sympathetically and responsibly for the sake of the children is clearly in their best interests, and it will bring lasting rewards for the children as well as the wider family.
At Bretherton Law we know that it can be stressful and complicated when relationships break down, so turning to an experienced Family Law Solicitor is the sensible choice. We have been helping families with changes in their circumstances for over 50 years, and have built an enviable reputation for our professional service and honest advice. We are members of Resolution and always adopt their code of conduct
Call our family law specialist solicitor Atifha Aftab on 01727 869293, or request an appointment via the contact form below.