If you’re a parent who’s getting divorced, here’s what you need to know about divorce with kids – how it affects them and what you can do to make things easier.
Divorce With Kids: How Children Are Affected When Their Parents Split
Divorce is almost always stressful for children. Most don’t want their parents to separate, although some are relieved to get away from constant conflict and anger. However, the good news is that the vast majority of kids whose parents divorce don’t end up with serious emotional or behavioral problems. Generally, kids from divorced families are resilient (they learn it from parents who do a good job managing stress).
There are dozens of studies that show children whose parents divorce end up completely fine.
During the divorce, though, your children will have to deal with big life changes – no matter how old they are. They have to adjust to going back and forth between two households, the daily absence of one parent, and even seeing the loss of love between their parents. It’s what’s considered a “watershed moment” because life after the event is significantly different than it was before the event. Kids thrive on dependability, whether they’re small or older, which means this event is a big shake-up.
But there are things you can do to make things easier for your kids: The 3 Rs.
How to Make Divorce Easier on Your Kids
The three Rs that help restore a child’s trust in familiarity and dependability are:
Stick to a routine as much as possible – and you’ll get bonus points if it’s close to the old routine. Kids thrive on trusting that what they’re doing will remain the same, and they’re constantly on the lookout for things that are similar to the “old life.” Establish household routines they can get used to, and make sure that they know when to expect to visit with each parent and that your home will remain the same, unchanged, while they’re gone. (Pro tip: Check out these 11 good divorce books for kids to incorporate into bedtime routines.)
Having routines allows children to create rituals that allow them to feel as if they have more control over their lives. When kids can exert some control, they feel better (which is different from letting them run everything, by the way!) about the future, and psychologists suggest that this plays a huge role in the way kids learn to approach new things. It might also prevent older kids from taking control with defiant, rebellious, or even dangerous behaviors.
By constantly reassuring your children that your love for them will never change, you’ll do so much for their self-esteem. Remember, they’ve seen the loss of love between you and their other parent; that means that even subconsciously, they may question the love between you and them. The more you show and tell your children how much you love them, the stronger and more resilient they’ll be.
Do You Need to Talk to a Stockton Divorce Attorney About Child Custody, Child Support or Other Issues?
If you need to talk to a Stockton divorce attorney about child custody, child support or other issues because you’re still contemplating divorce or because your spouse has already filed, we may be able to help you.
Call us at (209) 546-6870 to schedule a consultation with California divorce attorney Anna Maples today.