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How to Handle Divorce with ChildrenJune 7, 2019 - Relationship Articles
How to Handle Divorce with Children:
- Be honest about the divorce
- Provide support
- Keep conflict away from your children
- Maintain a support system
- Get your finances in order
Be honest about the divorce
One of the biggest hurdles when handling divorce with children comes with announcing the divorce itself. Be sure that you and your ex partner have planned out how to break the news to your children ahead of time.
An honest, thoughtful and age appropriate conversation is key to helping your children understand why their parents are divorcing. A simple explanation of, “mom and dad have grown apart” may be enough of an explanation for young children. While older children may likely want more information.
Anticipate getting asked tough questions from your children as they try to process the divorce. Be prepared to provide your children with information to help them prepare for the upcoming changes in their lives. This includes: living arrangements, where their other parent will be, and if they need to change school, among other significant changes. Above all else, be sure to reassure your children that you both love them and that they had nothing to do with the divorce.
Children dealing with divorce can process their emotions differently. Some children may hide their feelings for their parent’s sake, while others may have visible mood changes. How your children will react depends on multiple factors such as their age, personality and parents’ disposition towards the divorce.
Kids cope with divorce in a variety of ways. It is common for children to experience any combination of anxiety, depression, loss of appetite, change in sleep patterns and drop in school performance. Let your children know that their feelings are valid, even if they cannot entirely articulate them.
If your child feels overwhelmed or you are concerned about your child’s mental health, you may consider hiring a therapist. This will provide an unbiased expert to help them sort through their feelings about the separation and divorce.
Keep conflict away from your children
It is imperative to keep your children away from unnecessary conflict between you and your ex. Fighting can make your children feel torn between their parents and impair them from processing the divorce. Regardless of how your ex acts, always take the high road when your children are present.
Regardless of what transpired, do not insult your ex in your children’s presence. Children of divorce will still love both parents but may be confused about how to feel towards them. Lastly, do not make your children your messenger with your former partner. And certainly do not press them for information about your ex’s life.
Maintain a support system
Another key aspect in how to handle divorce with children is to build your own support system. If your children are old enough, you may feel tempted to turn them into your confidant. However, oversharing your feelings about the divorce with them will have negative effects. Your children should not be your sole support system.
Both parents and kids feel an array of emotions during these difficult times. You may be feeling sad but also a combination of anger, stress, resentment, and confusion among other painful emotions. By properly taking care of your own needs, you will be well equipped to help your children heal.
You can find support by joining support groups or reaching out to close friends and family members. Meeting with a therapist or divorce coach can also help you meet your specific needs. By ensuring that you can healthily adjust and grow, so will your children.
Get your finances in order
The effect of divorce extends beyond your emotional but also to your financial wellbeing. As you prepare to start your newly divorced life, you will need to have your finances in order:
- Take time to examine your income and expenses: In addition to your normal expenses such as rent, utilities, groceries, children’s schooling and activities, you need to take into account divorce related expenses and purchases towards your new life.
- Assess all of your financial changes: Ask yourself if you need to find a new home for your family. Do you need to buy a new car, or enter your children into an after school program?
- You can consider meeting with a Certified Financial Planner: One that is trained in divorce related financial issues such as child support, dividing property and tax solutions.
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