4 articles Tag divorce

Helping Children Through a Divorce

Helping Children Through a DivorceIf two people no longer wish to remain together, that is their business. Divorces can, at times, be messy and complicated. A couple who once felt nothing but love and admiration may now only feel resentment and spite towards their former other half. It is known for individuals to get hurt quite often during the divorce process. 

Yet, in all this, it can sometimes be the children who bear the brunt of the pain of their parents’ lost love. Child custody rights when filing for divorce can be one of the issues that causes the most friction, particularly when children are made to feel like they must choose between one parent or the other.

Whether you are one of the parents, a relative, or even a family friend, there are multiple ways in which you can help children get through the divorce process with as little trauma as possible.

Offer to Babysit

If you are an outsider in the divorce, looking after the child while the parents are at a mediation, or in court itself, can take a weight off of everyone’s shoulders. This way, children do not have to be exposed to the divorce process, and parents can take some time to decompress afterwards to limit the amount of emotional strain that their children are exposed to.  

Fun activities during this time can also help to take the child’s mind off of how their world has been disrupted, which can be great for their wellbeing. 

Open Conversation

Communicating with children can be key. Their parents may be struggling with their own emotions and stresses and, therefore, be less available to the needs of their offspring. This can be a crucial time for other trusted adults to step up and be there for these vulnerable young people. Building trust and opening communications regarding the children’s thoughts and feelings can help them to work through their feelings in a safe and healthy way. 

Keep Bickering Away

If you are the child’s parent, you may be concerned about how your upcoming divorce is affecting them. One of the crucial ways of limiting their distress is to avoid discussing the divorce around them. Likewise, ensure that you and your former partner do not speak ill of the other around the children, as this may put them in an uncomfortable position. 

Unless there is a legitimate reason for doing so, such as a parent threatening or endangering the child, there is also no reason that they should be privy to the real reason behind the divorce. A child does not need to know about any adultery, or other marital issues, and relationships between both parents and their children should be maintained wherever possible. However, you shouldn’t just brush it under the carpet – explain to them what is happening in the simplest form and ensure they know it’s not their fault.

Going through a divorce can be stressful for anyone involved, but it is crucial that children are protected from as much of the emotional turmoil as possible. Likewise, it is key that they are reassured, as often as they need, that they are not at fault, and that they are loved. 

It’s Okay to Be Sad: 10 Simple Points That Outline How to Explain Divorce to a Kid

Photo by Kat J on Unsplash

Kids are more resilient than they get credit for. Many of them survive their parents’ divorce with some ease. But, many children are pressed by the incidents leading to the divorce. The divorce finalizes an emotional crisis that children may be less able to manage psychologically.

It’s tough on them. It’s simply confusing, frustrating, and scary for their developing minds. For instance, children need security and being self-concerned as they are, they cannot see what’s in it for them. They may worry about the security of home and hearth or about which parent will have custody.

Children of divorce need to know it’s okay to be sad, but there are ways to help them through the stress.

10 simple points that outline how to explain divorce to a kid:

Psychology Today notes, “Sadness is valid and useful and alerts us to how we need to treat ourselves.” And, that’s an adult understanding, but children don’t have this perspective. The experience of divorce lawyers and counselors has developed some simple points that outline how to explain divorce to a kid.

These strategies would vary with the age of the child, but for our purposes here, we are talking about young children:

  1. Be age-appropriate. Parents must understand to whom they are talking. They should meet with the child personally rather than offloading the conversation to a grandparent or lawyer. They should collaborate on a script and keep it short and direct.
  2. List the child’s needs. The divorce conversation is not about the parents. It is about how the change will affect the kid’s needs. Every child is different and values somethings more than others. Kids might worry about the future of their pet. They may worry about where they will live or what school they will attend. These concerns are selfish on the surface, but they also reflect their fears and insecurities. The kids aren’t after sophisticated answers. They want assurances.
  3. Listen actively. Young children have difficulty expressing their feelings in words. They are more likely to show anger, confusion, and/or tears. So, attentive parents will listen proactively. That means nodding in agreement, summarizing what they say, and reiterating their word choice. Active listening shows respect, leads to better understanding on both parts and clarifies future relationships.
  4. Prepare with patience. The older the child, the more drama surrounds the conversation. The child’s confusion creates many “why” questions. A series of why questions if the child’s way of focusing. They are trying to discover a sensible solution by funneling the responses into an explanation they can appreciate and accept. They are trying to build context once parents have told them their existing context will end.
  5. Keep it pointed. Divorce is not the time to overshare. The child who asks “why” is just as likely to ask why the sky is blue. The child is not looking for a legal or psychological explanation. They do have parents at a slight disadvantage because the parents don’t know what direction the conversation will take, what needs are priorities for the child, or how the child will express their confusion. So, parents are advised to answer accurately, simply, and responsively.
  6. Aggressively avoid blame. The child must not feel fault in the divorce, and parents only confuse the child more by blaming their spouse. Blaming diminishes the kids’ values and perceptions. It makes more sense to help the child cope by allowing their responses. It’s okay to be sad, so parents should make room for their emotions and behaviors.
  7. Promise futures. In the first conversation and in talks thereafter, parents should stress what will stay the same. Assurances of the things that will stay the same will reduce fears and build confidence in going forward. It should also reduce the questions asked.
  8. Make the child part of the process. The first conversation does not solve the child’s problems. Without overwhelming or burdening the child, parents should keep the child informed on the process. With as much prior notice as possible, parents should explain where the spouses will be living, what the custodial process and decision means to them, or how the divorce court process works. Keeping them informed about the process respects their role and answers their questions.
  9. Look at other divorces. Chances are good that there are divorced families in the immediate family and among the parents social circle. Hopefully, those families model good resolutions to divorce. If they have handled their divorce well, parents can refer their children to observe what does and doesn’t work.
  10. Listen to the divorce lawyer. Experienced divorce lawyers have observed the best and worst divorce events. While it’s not their job to assume parental responsibilities, they can be a knowledgeable and compassionate voice. At KM Family Law, LLC, for example, they opt for an approach that frames divorce as a collaborative transition and resolution rather than a devastating split.

It’s okay to be sad!

Huffington Post says, “We are a culture of doing and fixing. We want to make it all o.k., and we want to do so as quickly as possible.” So, sadness becomes a weakness. As sadness is stifled and suppressed, it turns to anger. Then, anger is restrained and punished.

Conscientious parents want their kids to avoid this black hole. The should want their children to handle the stress and change, and they should want their children to grow and mature through the otherwise unavoidable divorce.

Conscientious parents, emotionally involved in the drama of their own divorce, must understand their children are part of the divorce. The kids’ problems are not after effects; they are current with the divorce process and must be addressed and managed with a shared plan and strategy for reducing the kids’ sense of threat and loss.

It’s okay for the children to be sad. They deserve genuine and clear explanations. And, they need confidence in their voice and the strength to handle the process.

Is It Possible For Your Kids To Make It Through Your Divorce Unscathed?

One of the very worst things that can happen in a child’s life is their parents getting a divorce. For a lot of kids, mum and day breaking up can seem like the end of the world. Because of this, a lot of parents choose to stay in an unhappy relationship, to ensure their kids are happy. However, this is never a good idea, as sooner or later, the cracks will start to show.

The best thing that you can do if you’re unhappy in your marriage is separate from your partner. Despite what you might have heard, it’s possible for your children to make it through your divorce relatively unscathed. The most important thing is how you handle your separation and explain it to your kids.

Source for photo

To help make your divorce easier and less stressful for your kids, here’s what you need to do:

Don’t try to hide things from them

The most important thing when it comes to family breakups is not to hide things from your children. Whether they’re five years old or 15, being honest with them is important. Do you really want your child to hear the ins and outs of your divorce from someone else? No – then make sure to talk to them about things.

Be open and honest from the start

If you want to help your children get through your divorce without being too affected by it, you need to be honest with them, from the start. Of course, it’s all about age and what’s appropriate, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be truthful.

Your six-year-old may not need to know that their father cheated on you, but they do need to understand that he wasn’t happy with you. When it comes to divorce, honesty is always the best policy. Allow them to ask any questions that they want and do your best to answer truthfully.

Hire a lawyer and undergo mediation

The worst thing for children is seeing their parents argue and being stuck in the middle of it. If you want to ensure that your divorce doesn’t have a lasting impact on your kids, it’s important to make sure that you get things dealt with quickly.

For dealing with divorce when kids are involved, it’s always best to consult a family law solicitors for advice. This will allow you to get your divorce dealt with and finalised as quickly as possible. It may also be worth undergoing mediation with your ex-partner. To ensure that you’re both on the same page about the children and custody agreements. There’s nothing more damaging to a child than custody battles.

Put your child in therapy

Even if your kids seem fine, it’s worth putting them into therapy. Often, children don’t feel comfortable talking to their parents about everything that’s worrying them. That’s why therapy can be a great option. It will allow your children to open up about how they’re feeling and will make things easier to deal with for them.

If you go about your divorce in the right way, it is possible for your kids to make it through it unharmed. It might be hard at times, but with the right care and help, they can come out the other side.

The Other Woman.

The other day, when I was sitting waiting for an appointment, I got my pen and notepad out of my bag and just started writing, I was gripped by a compulsion to get something down on paper. I only managed to get two pages written, but I wanted to put it on here. So here goes;

Contemplating mortality is a peculiar thing. Contemplating the mortality of a person you care about, when you have a timeframe, isn’t peculiar. It’s nigh on impossible. Doctors can speak in medical terms and give you weeks, months, years, but trying to actually wrap your head around the fact that a persons days might be numbered is so much harder than you might think.

I hadn’t wanted to like Lorraine. When my Dad told me he was seeing someone new, my main emotion was one of indifference. I’d heard it before, got attached to some of them even. My Dad is what you could describe as a serial monogamist. He’s had a series of relationships in my 27 years of life, I even have a little brother from one of them, and in general I’ve got on well with most of them. But they all fit a mould, you see. Younger, much younger than my Dad. In fact, my brothers Mum is only five years older than me, the same age as my Husband. She was 17 when they got together, my dad in his very early thirties, and at 12 I thought he’d lost his fucking marbles.

But Lorraine is different. Sure, she’s not quite old enough to be my Mum, but she’s just in her forties, so at least she’s age-appropriate. She’s intelligent, feisty, travelled and easy to get along with. You can see why I didn’t like her…right?!

Up until my Dad met Lorraine, I hadn’t really taken any of his girlfriends seriously. I could have beat any of them in a game of Trivial Pursuit, even at the age of 11. I suppose in a way I felt superior, felt like my Dad had more respect and admiration for me than he did for them. He’s never been married, never really settled down, he always kept his own house just in case he needed to go back when things didn’t work out.

He and Lorraine are engaged. I was happy when I found out. In a way, it speaks volumes about her, the woman who succeeded where so many others had failed. The woman who got my Dad to settle down. I respect her. Over time, I’ve got to know her and I’ve grown to love her. She’s a good person, great with [Sausage] and my little brother, always friendly, and most importantly, she makes my Dad happy.

That’s where it stops, I think I was called in for my appointment at this point. Last year, Lorraine had a melanoma removed from her leg, and had her lymph nodes removed to prevent it from spreading. Sadly, a few weeks ago, we received the news that the bastard disease had reached her lungs and brain. Needless to say, we’re devastated but she’s having treatment and we’re staying positive. I’m not one to pray or go to church, but I do belive in the power of positive thought, so if I can get as many people as possible to think positively for her, maybe the universe will see its way to helping her out. Lorraine is an inspiration, I’m so impressed with how positive she’s been, and I’m proud of my Dad for dealing with it so well.

Me? I think it’s really fucking unfair and I want to punch someone in the face for letting this happen to such a lovely person, but anger doesn’t get you anywhere, does it? I’m using my maths brain and telling myself that Lorraine’s chances for a full recovery are miles better that the chances of winning the Lottery, and people win the Lottery three times a fucking week.

But in the meantime, if you could all spare a positive thought, that would be great. Thanks, in advance.