Divorce is a difficult experience for anyone to go through, but it can be especially hard for school-age children. For that reason, it's important for parents who are going through a divorce and have young children to take steps to make the transition easier for their kids. In this blog post, we will provide some helpful tips for parents who are going through a divorce, have young children in school, and want to protect their kids during the divorce process.
How Can I Protect My Young Children During the Divorce Process?
Divorce can be traumatic for young children. That’s why divorcing parents must take the necessary steps to protect their kids during the divorce process. The following are 10 tips that can help parents protect their young children during the divorce process:
- Keep communication open – One of the most important things parents can do when they are going through a divorce is to keep the lines of communication open with their children. This is especially important for younger children who may not fully understand what is going on. Talk to your kids about what is happening but be sure to keep it age-appropriate and avoid sharing too many details that may be confusing or upsetting. Make sure that your children always have the opportunity to ask questions or express their concerns.
- Keep both parents involved – Even though you and your spouse are getting divorced, you should both remain involved in your child's life. It is crucial to attend school functions together, like parent-teacher conferences, and school performances. When both parents are involved in the child's life, the child feels happy, secure, and supported, fostering resilience and stability.
- Create a consistent routine – School can provide a sense of stability for children during a challenging time, but that stability can be disrupted if there are too many changes to their routine. Try to create a consistent routine for your child that includes drop-off and pick-up times, homework schedules, and meal times. This will help your child feel more secure and less like their life is in chaos.
- Communicate with the school – If you’re comfortable with it, you should communicate with your child's school's administrators, teachers, and guidance counselors about your divorce. Informing them will allow them to support and monitor your child's behavior in school. Plus, they’ll be able to let you know if something seems off.
- Be involved in their education – It's important for both parents to be involved in their child's education, but it can be particularly important for a child going through a divorce. Attend parent-teacher conferences, volunteer in the classroom, and make sure you are up to date on what is happening at school. This will show your child that despite the divorce you are just as invested in their life and education as you were before.
- Notice changes in behavior – Divorce can be traumatic for young children and signs of that trauma might show up in the form of behavioral changes in school. If you notice a significant change in your child's behavior, inform the school. Teachers observe children every day and can tell when a child is not himself/herself. If your child is sad, stressed, or depressed, seek advice from the school regarding support options, such as having a guidance counselor speak with the child.
- Avoid putting the child in the middle – Divorce can be a tense process, with both parents often needing allies in the situation. Making your child feel forced to take sides or act as a go-between can harm your child's relationship with you and your spouse.
- Manage your emotions – Divorce can be emotionally overwhelming, heartbreaking, and hurtful at times. Even so, divorcing parents need to keep their differences to themselves when they’re interacting with their children, so that their kids do not feel that they are causing any issue that led to the divorce. When they’re around their kids, both parents should manage their emotions and focus on the children's well-being, not their own feelings.
- Don't speak poorly about your spouse in front of your child – It's important to remember that your child loves both you and your spouse and doesn't want to feel like they must choose between the two of you. Avoid speaking poorly about your spouse in front of your child or using your child as a messenger to communicate with your ex. This can cause your child to feel anxious and stressed, which can negatively impact your child’s mental and emotional well-being both in the present and well into the future.
- Take care of yourself – As a parent going through a divorce, it's important that you take care of yourself as well. This means taking the time to exercise, eat well, and take care of your mental health. The more you can manage your own stress, the better equipped you will be to support and care for your child.
By following the tips above, you and your child can handle just about anything the divorce process throws at you.
Want to learn more about how the divorce process works when you’re a parent with young children? Reach out to our experienced family law attorneys at Rech Law, P.C. To speak with our legal team about your situation, give us a call at (704) 659-0007 or contact us online today. We offer confidential consultations.
Read our clients’ testimonials to learn more about our law firm.