It is almost a cliché to state that divorce is hard on children. The reason it is something of a cliché is because divorce and children is a challenging mix. There are specific ways in which parents can help their children maneuver successfully through the divorce process. There are five key strategies that parents can use as a means to support kids during the marriage dissolution process:
- Maintain daily routines
- Communicate with children in an age-appropriate manner
- Appropriately reassure the kids
- Keep children abreast of custody and parenting time issues
- Listen to your kids
Maintain Daily Routines
A key strategy to employ to support your children during a divorce is to maintain preexisting daily routines whenever possible. The mere fact that you and your spouse are divorcing already serves to upend many elements of your family life. You provide an added level of stability to the lives of your children by maintaining some of the basic routines that you enjoyed before your New Jersey marriage dissolution started. Examples of daily routines include such simple things like:
- Nightly dinner time
- Attend religious services
- Participating in afterschool activities
- Other traditional family rituals and activities
Communicate with Children in an Age-Appropriate Manner
Regular and reliable communication between parent and child is always a must. Open, honest, regular communication becomes even more important when parents are divorcing.
When it comes to divorce and children, you need to make sure lines of communication remain open with your kids. A key element of divorce and children communication is to make sure that you speak with your kids using age-appropriate language. Depending on the age of your children, they will have different understandings of your divorce. Indeed, age and maturity level more generally dictate the manner in which your kids receive and process information.
Appropriately Reassure the Kids
No matter the age of your minor children, there will be a level of instability and confusion in their lives when parents elect to divorce. Your children will be no different when you and your spouse seek a marriage dissolution. When it comes to divorce and children, you need to appropriately reassure your kids about the state of their lives as you divorce. Examples of how you can reassure your kids includes such things as:
- Divorce is not the fault of your kids
- Both parents love your kids
- You want to hear from your kids when it comes to their concerns
- Your family still exists even though parents live separately
Keep Children Abreast of Custody and Parenting Time Issues
Your kids are going to want to know how, when, and where they will spend time with each parent. Your children want to know where they will be living and how that will work. In short, when it comes to divorce and your kids, they are going to want to know what is going on when it comes to different aspects of the marriage dissolution process. Chief among what they will want to know about is matters associated with custody and parenting time.
You must keep them abreast about what is going on in court and between parents in regard to these important matters. The failure to do so can leave children unnecessarily unsettled and uncomfortable.
Listen to Your Kids
Finally, when it comes to divorce and children, an important strategy to employ to support your kids is to listen to them. Carve out time to spend with your children. Encourage an environment where they feel free to ask you questions and to express their concerns about your divorce to you.
When listening to your children, do not be dismissive about what they have to say. Your kids will have very real concerns that may not seem reasonable from your vantage point. However, you must bear in mind that your children are viewing and interpreting the end of your marriage from their own vantage point.
By employing the strategies set forth in this article, you will take affirmative steps to support your kids emotionally and otherwise during the course of your divorce proceedings. Moreover, these tactics can be helpful when you and your kids begin life following the end of your marriage. Call the Law Offices of Peter Van Aulen at (201) 845-7400 for a consultation regarding divorce.