When their parents divorce, children often wonder what went wrong and whether or not they might be to blame. These anxious and confused feelings are heightened when one parent moves out, splitting the household and causing them to see that parent less often.
Although there is no way to ease the pain of divorce completely, there are ways that you and your spouse can work together to make the kids feel secure during the resulting transition. Let’s take a closer look at four of them.
- Acknowledge that things are changing
Children, even younger ones, are not as naive as we sometimes think. They understand more than they let on, so don’t gloss over the situation by pretending everything is fine when it really isn’t. The kids will start questioning their own reality, and it could eventually diminish their trust in you.
Tell them that you understand their confusion and unhappiness, and that they are in no way to blame for the breakup. Remind them that they will always have two parents who love them no matter what.
- Tell them that they are safe and loved
This is what children desperately want to hear when their parents’ divorce: that they are loved, and nothing bad will happen to them. If you and their other parent are consistent and available when they need you, then they will understand that they can always count on you. This will enable them to form healthy relationships of their own in the future.
- Don’t force them to choose sides
No matter who they live with most of the time, children need both parents. Never do anything that makes them feel that they need to choose between you and your ex, or that their other parent does not love them as much as you do. Even if you did not want the divorce and are angry, then refrain from doing anything that damages the children’s relationship with your former spouse. Badmouthing him or her will not get the kids “on your side.” What it will do is create resentment and trust issues.
- Create a consistent routine
During times of change, routine is both comforting and reassuring. No matter whose roof they may be under at any given time, try to eat dinner, schedule homework sessions and impose bedtime according to the same schedule. You want them to feel that they have two homes and are not merely shuttling back and forth between different residences like rootless nomads.
Divorce is a time of intense change, but it doesn’t have to affect the children forever. Ensuring that they feel loved and secure from beginning to end will help them better cope with uncertainty, now and in the future. Jayson Lutzky handles divorce cases from his Bronx office. He has compassionately helped thousands of highly satisfied clients file for uncontested and contested divorces over the past 34 years. If you are seeking a free in-person initial consultation to learn more about your options for divorce and family court, then contact Mr. Lutzky’s office at 718-329-9500. Saturday appointments are available. Visit www.MyNewYorkCityLawyer.com to learn more.