Divorce has a major impact on the children. For them, life as they have known it will never be the same. How parents help their children through this difficult time will make a difference in how the children can develop or maintain a positive relationship with both parents.
Questions Children Need Answered
It is almost universal that when children learn their parents are divorcing, they imagine it is their fault. They wonder what they might have done to cause it, and if there is anything they can do to fix it.
Some questions children have that must be answered include:
- Was it my fault? Children need to be told by both parents that the children did nothing to cause this divorce. The divorce has nothing to do with them.
- What will happen to me? They need to know that although the parent-to-parent relationship is changing, the parent-to-child relationship is not. They will still spend time with each parent and both parents will still love the children with the same love they had for them before the divorce.
- Where will I live? Parents need to be honest with their children about how the living situation will change. Will the children live primarily with one parent and spend overnights with the other? How will the children share time between their parents’ homes?
- Will I have to move from my current home? Children are concerned about moving away from friends and neighbors.
- Will I have to change schools? Children are concerned about starting a new school, new activities, losing friends, making new friends.
These topics weigh heavily on children’s minds. How they react may depend on how united the parents can be when answering the children’s questions and how they learn to co-parent, so the children still feel loved and secure in their relationships with each parent.
How the Collaborative Divorce Process Helps Children
In a Collaborative Divorce, a neutral child specialist can be part of the team. They can help the parents lessen the impact the divorce has on the children. The children may even participate in the process so that they can express their feelings and concerns. This helps them feel like their voice is at least being heard.
Important Reminders for Divorcing Parents with Children
- Both parents should reassure the children that they and the other parent still love them and will still be part of their lives.
- Always reassure the children that the divorce was not their fault.
- Never ask children to take sides.
- Do not ask the children to pass messages between the parents.
For more information on how to help your children through the divorce process, and for assistance with any other aspects of your divorce, contact us at Bruckner Hernandez Legal Solutions, LLC, to schedule a consultation.