No matter how old or mature your children, the prospect of their parents’ divorce is a terrifying and sad experience. Their source of security is splitting in two and big changes—both emotional and practical—are about to interrupt their life. In short, it is a life-changing trauma. As parents, we want to help our children process this trauma. That is why it is important to take a child-first approach to addressing your child’s fears:
- There is no perfect way to address your children’s fears. Try your best and be forgiving of yourself if some ideas don’t work out.
- Do not ignore the issue. Even if your child does not say anything and seems fine, do not take this as an indication that everything is ok. Raise the issue with them and be available to answer their questions. Remain open to family or individual therapy to talk through your child’s feelings and how they cope with the divorce.
- Remember that your divorce is not your children’s fault. Make sure that they understand this, without any qualifications.
- Try to keep your child in the same home, in the same school, and in communication with the same friends. Maintaining the child’s daily continuity and structure can go a long way toward demonstrating that their world is not completely changing.
- When you need to be around the other parent, do not fight in your child’s presence. Consider how your child is internalizing this experience as it is happening.
- Do not disparage the other parent. This is emotionally inappropriate, as your child is not your friend and is not your sounding board. Further, it is important for children to have a healthy relationship with both parents and absent domestic violence or a history of child abuse, you do not want to discourage your child from having a relationship with their other parent.
- Whether you are the child’s mother or father, it is critical to stay committed and to stay involved with your child. This means to pay attention to your child, to exercise all available visitation, and to keep all commitments to them. Children need to know that their parents want to, and will, remain a part of their lives.
New Direction Family Law
New Direction Family Law is a North Carolina family law firm that represents clients in legal cases regarding separation and divorce, property division, alimony, child custody, and child support. We take your separation and divorce very seriously and strive to provide thoughtful, compassionate guidance to help you and your children. Let us represent you. We proudly serve Wake, Johnston, Lee, Harnett, Cumberland, Nash, Granville, Franklin, and Durham counties. Contact New Direction Family Law at (919) 719-3470 to schedule an appointment or reach us online at our website.