Getting a divorce is a stressful process for both parties. However, one party it shouldn’t be stressful for is your child. It’s important to take steps during divorce proceedings to protect your child, or they could end up with lasting mental pain and trauma. Fortunately, studies show that most children are able to cope with the pressures of a divorce, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t work hard to insulate them from harm.
To help you make the best choices for your children during and after your divorce, we’ve compiled a list of best practices you can follow with your own family.
1. Do Your Best to Maintain Consistency
One of the scariest aspects of divorce to children is the changes that it brings. Children feel safest and most comfortable when their routines are intact. Try to change as little as possible in your child’s day-to-day life, including mealtimes, schedules, or regular activities, and do your best to keep them in the same school or neighborhood if possible.
2. Don’t Involve Your Children in Drama
A common problem many children have with divorce is trying to act as intermediaries between fighting parents. Remember that your child is not a messenger, and that they aren’t on either parent’s “side.” Do your best not to fight in front of your child or criticize your spouse or his or her actions while your child is present.
3. Stay Connected to Family
Just because you and your spouse are divorcing doesn’t mean the other parent is any less a part of your child’s family. Do your best to encourage visitation between the child and both sides, including grandparents or other family members the child might want to see. The more support and stability your children can receive during this tumultuous time, the better.
4. Remove any Sense of Fault
Many children internalize their parents’ problems, and when it comes to a divorce they start to see the process as their fault. It’s vital that you and your spouse reassure your child that the fault is not with them. The more you can show love, reassurance, and support for your child, the more they will bounce back after the divorce is over.
5. Look at Alternatives to Litigation
Though it’s always a good idea to retain the services of a qualified family lawyer during a divorce, litigation is not the only way to settle the process. Mediation will also result in divorce but is far less contentious. It allows both parents to work together to make the best decisions for themselves and their children, rather than pitting themselves against each other in the courtroom.
6. Take Care of Yourself – Don’t Let Your Kids Care for You
It’s important you maintain your own ability to take care of yourself and your children during your divorce. Get enough sleep and food, and don’t succumb to the temptation to stay in bed all day or feel sorry for yourself. Similarly, don’t let your children take care of you. They’ll be tempted to step in and act like adults, but this isn’t the right time to promote such behavior. Let your kids be kids, and take care of them as best you can.
7. Remember What’s Important
When you divorce after having children, you can’t only be focused on your own needs and happiness. Make sure you remember to do what’s best for your children, and keep their needs and desires at the forefront of every decision. This is not the time to be selfish.
If you need the services of a qualified family and divorce lawyer in Oklahoma City, contact Bryan Stratton today. Bryan is a dedicated professional and has years of experience in family law. He knows how to make the best legal decisions for everyone involved, including your children. Schedule your free no-obligation meeting today.