Regardless of the reason for your divorce, the process can be extremely
difficult for your child to handle. From a child’s perspective,
divorce tears their family apart and often forces them to choose sides
in a contentious battle. To protect your child and their future, it’s
very important to be honest with them and take the time to make sure they
understand the situation.
1. Avoid Blaming Your Spouse
It’s no secret that divorce can be a very contentious process, and
it’s very natural to assign blame to your spouse. However, it is
vital that you do not share these feelings with your child. Your child
should be able to love both parents without feeling guilty, or they may
become depressed or develop antisocial behavior. Your child is
not your therapist or sounding board.
2. Be Honest
It’s important to be up-front with your child. While they may not
know exactly what’s going on, children can often tell if a parent
is lying or trying to hide information from them. While it may be a difficult
conversation for you to have, you should always be straightforward with
your child and give them simple, honest information about your divorce.
3. Encourage Communication
Just as you should be honest with your child, you should always encourage
your child to be honest with you. Ask them how they feel and listen attentively.
Reassure them with simple, direct answers to their questions, and help
them formulate questions that they may not know how to ask. It’s
also vital to let them know that it’s okay to be sad, angry, or
confused about the divorce.
4. Reassure Your Child
One of the most important ways to help your child handle a divorce is to
reassure them that it is not their fault. Nearly all children feel some
degree of guilt for their parents’ divorce, which is why you must
regularly reassure them that they are not responsible.
You should also reassure your child that they will not need to worry about
food, shelter, or clothing. If you are a single mother, it can often be
helpful to reassure your kids that there is a plan to protect them in
case of a fire, break-in, or for young children, those monsters under the bed.
5. Do Not Fight With Your Spouse In Front of Your Children
This goes hand-in-hand with not blaming your spouse. When children see
their parents fighting, it can cause a great deal of emotional turmoil
and cause them to withdraw, become depressed, or act out in destructive
ways. While you may harbor resentment for your spouse, you should both
agree to present a unified front for the children.
6. Read & Discuss a Book on Divorce with Your Child
A book that is specifically geared toward children can help your child
better understand and cope with a divorce. You should read the book together,
and then take the time to discuss the information and answer any questions
they might have.
Divorce is difficult on children and adults alike. If you need compassionate
legal representation, call our Austin divorce lawyers at (512) 420-0555.