Helping Kids Cope with Divorce
Pennsylvania parents who are about to go through a separation are likely worried about how the split will affect their children. Though it is normal for a child to experience at least some difficulty when parents separate, there are things that parents can do to make the process easier and less painful.
Presenting a United Front
Oftentimes when parents separate, they have a desire to try to outdo each other and to be the “favorite” parent. However, it is better for parents to minimize the differences their children will experience from one home to another, both to provide a sense of normalcy and to give the children some structure and discipline. Parents should see if there are any rules upon which they can agree, such as a set bedtime.
Presenting a united front can start before the parents physically separate. If parents talk to their children together about the upcoming divorce, it should make the discussion easier for the child to handle.
It is not a good idea for parents to lie to their kids about the reasons for their divorce, but it is also a bad idea to overshare. Children should not be involved in the disputes between two parents, and they should not be made aware of the qualms that one parent has with the other. Venting to a child about the other parent will only confuse and upset the child in the long run.
Providing Emotional Support to Children During a Divorce
Sometimes parents get so consumed with their own emotions during a divorce that they forget about their children’s. Children often have a tendency to feel abandoned or unloved when their parents separate since they will inevitably be seeing one or both parents less often than before. Parents should regularly reassure their kids that they love them, and they should encourage their kids to express their feelings, either verbally or through some other mode, like drawing or painting.
Parents should also exclude their children from any child custody battles. If parents cannot agree on a custody schedule, they should discuss it with their respective family law attorneys to help them come to a resolution.