All children are different. They all have different personalities and different ways of coping with adversity. When children find themselves in the unfortunate situation of their parents separating, each child reacts differently. But even if a child isn’t outwardly showing signs that they are struggling, it is important to acknowledge that divorce is traumatic for all children. It is therefore parents’ duty to help their children cope with this trauma and find a path forward.
One way that children’s lives can normalize following a divorce is with ample visitation with their parents. However, in the early phases of a separation, children can experience a natural amount of separation anxiety when it comes to leaving their primary caretaker and visiting with their other parent. This can manifest itself in many different ways, such as acting out, withdrawing, lashing out, or refusing to visit the other parent. There are ways that both parents can help ease their child’s separation anxiety.
Being Healthy Co-Parents
Putting the conflict aside to be healthy co-parents. When children feel like they are in the middle of their parents’ fight, or they feel like they bear responsibility in the situation, they suffer. For the sake of your children, put aside your differences when it comes to being parents. Encourage a continued relationship and bond between your children and their other parent. After all, even though you are no longer a couple, you will forever be linked as parents to children who are currently in pain.
Consistency is Key
Parents have to be consistent in exercising visitation with their children and in following their parenting schedules. Children need to have trust in their parents and predictability in their schedules. Failing to follow through with visitation can break that trust; while in contrast, consistent visitation can help develop the parent-child bond and chip away at children’s anxiety.
There is strength in seeking help if you are unable to ease your child’s anxiety. Help can come in the form of other parents who have had similar experiences, support groups, child therapists, and family therapists who can help monitor or transition visitation.
New Direction Family Law
Child custody disputes are painful for children and painful for parents. At New Direction Family Law, our attorneys appreciate the emotional toll that prolonged conflicts can have, and strive to provide concise, no-nonsense legal representation. We have years of experience and understand what needs to happen in order to provide you and your children the resolution you need to move toward the future. If you need help, call us at (919) 719-3470 to schedule an appointment or visit our website.