Divorce includes tedious tasks like splitting assets and negotiating over alimony. It becomes even more stressful if children are involved.
The impact of divorce on children depends on how the couple treats each other before and after the proceedings. Couples should realize that though their relationship will end, they will continue to be parents. They should, therefore, try and make the transition comfortable for their kids.
It is best if the couple works out a suitable time to break the news to their children and keep them informed about the proceedings.
How Does Divorce Affect Children?
A few effects of divorce on children may include:
- Aggressive behavior
- Loss of interest in socializing
- Increased emotional sensitivity
- Increase in health problems
- Loss of faith in relationships
We have put together a few significant points to be considered when speaking to children about divorce.
1. Plan Ahead
Be thoughtful about discussing the topic with your children. The best time to do this will be on a weekend or when the family is together. Take care not to blurt out anything out of anger and frustration before their school or bedtime.
You may be going through a tough phase with your spouse and wouldn’t like spending much time with him/her. But it is important that both of you sit together and decide on what details to tell the kids.
If both of you feel that the marriage isn’t going to work, it will be best to seek help from a mediator, divorce coach, or counselor. The key is to be emotionally stable and non-impulsive when dealing with the situation.
2. Try to Discuss with Your Children as a Couple
Divorce doesn’t end your duties as parents. You should ensure that you discuss it as a family. If you have more than one child, make it a point to open up in front of them at the same time.
Your children should get to know about the details from you rather than siblings. If you feel the need for a follow-up conversation with the older kids, you may have it later.
Also, if you feel this kind of an open discussion will result in conflict or will not work, try to get help from a mediator and develop a plan accordingly.
3. Do Not Blame Each Other as a Couple
Though you may want your children to know the truth behind the separation, it may have a negative impact on them. Refrain from blaming each other or explaining the cause in front of your children.
For example, stating that “mom had an affair” or “dad doesn’t need us” will leave the children in a loyalty bind. This may have an adverse impact on their psychological health. Try to showcase that the decision to part ways was taken together.
4. Keep Your Kids Informed about the Changes
Your children may be curious to know about the changes that will take place after the divorce. If you have come up with an agreement on child custody, inform the kids about which parent they will stay with.
Also, let them know of any changes to expect in terms of their school, friends, sports, and activities. Be clear about what will change and the things that will remain the same.
5. Tell the Kids about Which Parent Will Be Leaving Home
You should tell your kids about which parent will be leaving the family home. You can also try to furnish details about when the children can get to see him/her if these details have been decided upon. Children should get to know that despite the divorce, they will be able to maintain a close bond with both the parents.
6. Offer Reassurance
The news of divorce will likely hit your children hard. Reassure them that though things may take time to settle down, everything will be fine. Do not make false promises, but tell them that you will take care of their requirements.
7. Let Them Ask Questions
Sometimes, kids don’t speak right away but may have several questions on their mind. When they ask, do not overreact. Answer questions if you have the right information. If you aren’t sure, let them know that you will tell them after you have figured it out yourself.
Encourage them to ask whatever questions they want to. Do not let them confine their feelings. But make sure to keep them away from legal and financial issues related to divorce.
8. Give Children Time to Adjust
The change is as big for your children as it is for you. Give them the time and space to adapt. Though you may be confident about the future, your children may need some more time. It is important that you are present to support them.
A few other aspects to be taken care of are:
- Do not force your children to take sides
- Make sure not to argue or discuss child support/child custody issues in front of the children
- Parents should not ask children to provide them information about the whereabouts of their spouses.
Though these strategies will help couples deal with their children during the divorce process, parents in Missouri may still be concerned about the impact of the divorce on their children. This may include aspects of child custody or time allocation for the parent with the children.
How Does a Divorce Work with a Child?
It is important to note that details of child custody can be either defined separately or as a joint plan. In the absence of a joint plan, the court will decide upon child custody based on the following factors:
- The individual interest of the couple in parenting plans
- The ability and willingness of the couple to perform parental duties
- Nature/quality of the relationship of the child with the parent and siblings involved
- Child’s adjustment towards home, school, and community
- Mental and physical health of the parent involved
- The intention and willingness of the custodial parent to relocate for the child
- The willingness of the parent to let the children meet the other parent and maintain a cordial relationship
- Consent from the child
You should seek the recommendation of an experienced St. Louis divorce mediation attorney as he/she will be aware of the nuances of child custody and Missouri divorce laws to be able to represent your case in the strongest possible manner.
Divorce is a difficult transition. It becomes even more stressful when children are involved. You should get the help of an experienced divorce lawyer to handle aspects of child custody in divorce. Also, keep your children informed about the goings-on and the changes they should expect. Hopefully, the points mentioned above will help you talk about your divorce with your kids in the most reassuring way possible.