The emotional upheaval brought on by divorce in the family can be exhausting and intense. It can take a significant amount of time for everyone to process the event, regardless of how amicable the decision to separate may have been. The end of a marriage is particularly difficult for any children involved, as they are suddenly confronted with not only the reality that their family is changing, but also the realization that they must accept and adjust to new routines and essentially a different way of life. The result of such a big transition is a lot for children of any age, and emotional distress is both natural and inevitable. Just as adults process loss in their own way and in their own time, so too do children of divorce.
It is common for parents in the midst of divorce proceedings to struggle to find the energy to extend to their child, who also needs comfort and support during such a trying time. Practicing basic self-care during the transition is critical, so you are able to recharge and be emotionally available for them. However, even under strained circumstances, there are many strategies and attitudes you can adopt that can help lighten your child’s burden, make them feel safe and loved, and maybe even lift their spirits. Here are four ways every parent can reduce the stress of divorce for their child:
Encourage communication - Psychology experts recommend that parents encourage their children to talk about their feelings. Let your kids know it is okay to share their thoughts and express any feelings they have, including anger, sadness, or frustration. Simply listening and allowing them to discuss the divorce with you can help build trust and open the door for future talks.
Avoid parental alienation - The term “parental alienation” refers to what happens when one parent turns the children against the other parent, through manipulative thoughts and actions. Negative talk or a blatant hostile attitude toward the other parent, along with deliberately sabotaging your children’s time with the other parent, only hurts the kids. Avoid the toxic effects of parental alienation by keeping the conflict between you and your ex-spouse. Keep your children out of disputes to protect their emotional health.
Discuss parenting time - Changes in routine can be difficult for kids, especially when it comes to disruption of quality time with parents. As you develop your parenting plan, you can ease your children’s fears about losing out on time with both parents by discussing parenting time and what it will look like for your whole family once the divorce is finalized.
Be patient - Psychologists emphasize that tantrums and episodes of withdrawal are to be expected from children during divorce. By anticipating this behavior and remaining patient with your children as you work through the difficulties, you can help ease their stress levels. Children need to see and feel their parents' support, especially during the hard times and when you are less than pleased with their behavior. This gives them a sense of stability and security.
We can never predict how our family members will react to the news of a divorce. Children in the family are particularly prone to experiencing a wide range of emotions as they adjust and adapt to a new family dynamic and environment. You can begin to reduce the emotional distress for you and your children by seeking out the assistance you need to get organized and protect your rights. Speaking with a dedicated, knowledgeable Bloomingdale divorce and family law attorney is a great place to start. Call Mevorah Law Offices LLC today at 630-932-9100 to schedule a free consultation.
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