5 Ways to Help Your Kids Adjust to Life Following Divorce

Divorce is often painful for the whole family, including the children. Separation is confusing for them, and it is challenging to explain something that you may not fully understand yourself. It is a struggle to handle your own issues and problems while also helping your child through this process as well. However, you owe it to your children to do the best you can to help them through this transitionary period. What is the best way to do that? It will depend on your unique situation and your child, but you can use the following suggestions to get you started.

  1. Keep conflict away from your children.

While it is certainly a good idea to expose your children to you and your spouse working through your disagreements, it is not healthy for children to watch heated arguments or obvious conflict. Even legal discussions can be confusing and scary for kids.

There is a fine line between allowing your children to see healthy conflict and conflict resolution and allowing them to watch abusive or unhealthy fights. When in doubt, try to keep conflict away from your kids.

  1. Explain the divorce and what will happen next.

Although it may be tempting to avoid a straightforward talk about what is happening, it is a good idea to be frank with your children. Explain how their living arrangements will work and how the transition will affect them going forward. It’s a good idea to have both parents present for this type of conversation.

You do not need to get into the weeds about what happened. Explaining that you are fighting with one another and it is making everyone unhappy may be enough in many situations.

  1. Reassure your children.

Children sometimes blame themselves for their parents’ divorce. It is important that your child knows that both parents still love them and that the parents will be there for them when they need them. Explaining that just because the child is not with both parents at the same time does not mean that one loves the child any less can go a long way.

  1. Ease into the transition if possible.

Children tend to do better when they have had some time to prepare for a big transition. For example, give your child some warning before a parent moves out. Allow the child to see the new space that they will be living in part of the time.

Many children do better when they feel like they have some control over what is happening. Allow the child to have some input in a parent’s new location, such as picking out furniture or their bedroom.

  1. Have a backup plan.

In many situations, children are horribly disappointed when one parent does not appear for visitation or they cannot go to their house as planned. Always be sure to have a backup plan if this happens. Having something fun planned just in case helps ease the disappointment. Agree how long you will wait until you make a phone call or make other plans, and then move on with your day. Talking badly about the other parent or dwelling it on it can only make matters worse.

If you need divorce or child custody assistance in Nashville, we can help. Give us a call to learn more or set up an appointment: 615-669-2884.

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Piper McCracken, PLLC

Our firm began as a belief that things could be done better—in both the practice of law and in the working lives of lawyers. Founding partners, Heather Piper and Joanna McCracken, met while working as attorneys at a large, regional firm. They honed their skills as litigators on a broad range of cases from medical malpractice and product liability, to real estate and entertainment law. But it was their mutual desire to help people on a more personal level that inspired them to begin a family law practice.

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