Divorce is rarely easy, but what can make it even harder is having children. Kids sometimes rarely consider their parents’ relationship status, unless the fighting is particularly loud and disruptive. They can often look at their parents as a single unit, a wall of love and protection that is as solid as it is seemingly permanent. However, almost half of all marriages end in divorce. What children don’t realize is relationships don’t always last forever like they do in the fairy tales. People grow and change, and sometimes the relationship doesn’t always change with them. Your job as a parent is to ensure the process of the divorce is as painless and stress-free as humanly possible for your kids. To make it easier on them, you and your spouse need to provide a supportive and positive environment for your children. Our skilled Illinois divorce attorneys have assembled a few tips to make it a little easier for you to navigate this difficult situation.
The first and most important thing you need to do is to talk with your child. This sounds simple enough, but the things you may think are obvious may need to be spoken aloud. For example, the divorce is likely not your child’s fault, and both you and your spouse know that. However, your child does not. Children can be particularly egocentric, meaning most of their world revolves around them. If you and your spouse are getting divorced, your child may think they are the reason for it. You and your spouse need to take a united front by communicating to your child he or she is not the cause of the divorce.
Likewise, your child needs to know that the divorce will not affect the level of love and affection you have for him or her. You and your spouse may not know that when a divorce occurs, it raises a number of questions in your kid’s mind that can only be answered by you.
- Is this my fault?
- What will happen to me?
- Where will I live?
- Do they still love me?
It can help to discuss custody arrangements with your spouse in advance, so you have more information to tell your kids. They will likely want to know how the living arrangements will work and whether or not they will have to change schools.
Also, when you speak to your kids, remember to discuss the things that will change, the things that will never change, and to remain civil with your spouse. No matter what the circumstances of your case, refrain from blaming your spouse or badmouthing him or her in front of your kids. You may believe your spouse deserves it, but your children have a different relationship with your spouse than you do. Your spouse may still be a good parent, just not a good husband or wife.
Remember also that the majority of good communication is listening to what another person has to say. Make sure you understand your child’s concerns and answer their questions. Encourage him or her to share their feelings with you. Also, acknowledge their feelings if they are upset. You can help your child deal with the divorce by taking the time to talk to them.
If you have the means, you might also want to consider taking your child to see a therapist in addition to speaking with them yourself. Therapists are trained to give people the tools they need to cope with grief, loss, and changes in circumstances.
If you’re ready to get started with your divorce, talk to one of our skilled Illinois family law attorneys. Wakenight & Associates, P.C. is dedicated to helping people get through emotionally difficult times. Our lawyers have been assisting people through straightforward and complex divorces for years. We love solving problems and helping people overcome the obstacles that often make this process take longer than people want. Let us see what we can do for you.
Contact us by phone or fill out our online form to schedule your free case consultation today.