How can you help your kids cope with your divorce?

The end of a marriage is often difficult for all who are involved. This may be especially true for the children of divorcing couples in New Jersey, and elsewhere, because they often do not understand what is happening or why. As a parent, there is no way for you to eliminate all of the upset that your divorce may cause your children. However, there are things you can do to help your kids cope with this type of major life change.

Once your plans are finalized, it is important for you to tell your children that you plan to divorce. Although you and your soon-to-be former partner may be at odds with each other, it may benefit your kids if you are able to sit down together with them in order to have this conversation. This may help reassure them that you both still love them and will continue to work together to parent them, which may help alleviate some of the fears and anxiety that the news of your divorce might cause them. Further, it is advisable that you tell all of your children at the same time, rather than just telling your older children what is going on.

When the reality that you and your spouse are getting divorced sets in, your children will likely have questions. Some may have pragmatic concerns such as where they will live, how the visitation schedule will work, or who will take them to school and soccer practice. Others may have more emotional questions, like is the divorce their fault or will you get back together. Even if answering their questions is upsetting for you, it is advisable that you address their concerns. According to the Mayo Clinic, this may help your children to feel more secure with the divorce and their futures.

Just as you did while you were together, it is important for you to respect your child’s relationship with his or her other parent. Therefore, you should avoid fighting in front of your kids or speaking negatively about your former partner in front of them. Additionally, the Mayo Clinic points out that you should not force your child to choose a side in your divorce, or use them as a go-between.