Being a Supportive Parent Through Divorce

In Parenting, Separation & Divorce by Elizabeth Stephenson

The end of a marriage is a very significant trauma of your lifetime. When you separate, your sense of normalcy is completely disrupted, your emotions go into a sustained flux, you are forced into dramatically changing your plans, and your hopes and dreams have to be radically adjusted.

It is a different kind of trauma for your children. Children are completely reliant on their parents for their sense of safety and stability. When their family system splits, so does their security and trust in their world. During this critical time in your children’s development, the way that you support them matters. It matters a lot. It may help to consider the following ideas.

  • While it sounds cliché, you have to care for yourself before you can care for others. It is therefore critical that you exercise proper self-care during your separation, including: counseling and spirituality, exercise for your body, and planning with an attorney to ease your mind.
  • Acknowledge that a trauma has occurred. Do not ignore it. Talk to your children and ask them how they are doing. If you need help, find support from friends or a counselor to help them process their feelings and how they cope with their feelings.
  • Maintain the children’s schedule to the best of your capacity. If they can remain in the same school, hang out with the same friends, and engage in the same after school activities, maybe they can trust that their lives haven’t completely turned over.
  • Learn to forgive yourself. It is healthy to let your children know that you are sad and to let them see that you are sad. By your example, they will know that it is okay for them to have their feelings as well.
  • Don’t openly fight with your former partner and do not disparage the other parent. This is not fair or healthy for the children, as they may feel compelled to choose sides or may feel guilty that they still love their other parent. Let them live free of this burden.
  • Allow the other parent to remain involved. You can be a supportive parent to your children by being an encouraging co-parent. Whatever your differences, it is in children’s best interest when both parents remain involved in their lives. An exception, of course, is if there has been domestic violence, child abuse, or substance abuse in the relationship.

New Direction Family Law

New Direction Family Law assists people who need help with any issue relating to separation, divorce, property division, child custody, alimony, or child support. If you need advice or representation, contact us. We know that you are at a critical juncture of your life and want to help you move forward. We serve Wake, Johnston, d Durham and surrounding counties. Contact New Direction Family Law at (919) 719-3470 to schedule an appointment or reach us online at our website.