If you sense that your marriage is headed toward divorce, it's not too early to begin ensuring that the children emerge from the situation as unscathed as possible. Following are four strategies designed to help children deal with divorce.
Do Not Badmouth the Other Parent
One of the most difficult things for children of parents who are divorcing is that one or both parents often badmouth the other. Those engaging in this type of behavior often don't realize the effect their words may have on their children. They may think that they are just indulging in some harmless venting, but in reality, their words will be remembered for a long time. Always err on the side of caution concerning the words you choose to use when speaking with your children about the other parent. Vent to your adult friends in an environment where the children aren't able to accidentally listen in instead.
Talk With a Qualified Attorney
Divorce always goes more smoothly for everyone when the services of a qualified attorney are a part of the picture. As soon as you realize that divorce is on the horizon, make an appointment to speak with a good lawyer who has substantial experience in family law. Professionals, like those at McKissick & McKissick, know that navigating rough waters is always easier when there's a skilled captain on board. Talking with friends, family, and acquaintances as well as reading online reviews can help you find the best attorney for your particular situation.
Make as Few Big Changes as Possible
Many people who are going through a divorce are tempted to make major changes in their lives such as moving across the country. However, resisting these changes may be in the best interests of the children. Asking children to adjust to too many big changes in their lives may create emotional instability. Many experts recommend waiting at least one year before introducing significant change into their lives. If at all possible, try to arrange it so that they can keep going to the same school at least until the end of the school year.
Consider Professional Counseling
Children are frequently afraid to open up to parents, grandparents, or other adults to whom they're close to but may nonetheless need a solid sounding board. At least one or two sessions with a professional counselor who is trained to help children get through the muddy waters of parental divorce is usually a good idea.
Also, keep in mind that the children need you to be a good leader during this stressful time. Avoid showing too much vulnerability when they are present, and remember to take good care of yourself so that you can provide the strong presence that your children need.
Rachelle Wilber is a freelance writer living in the San Diego, California area. She graduated from San Diego State University with her Bachelor's Degree in Journalism and Media Studies. She tries to find an interest in all topics and themes, which prompts her writing. When she isn't on her porch writing in the sun, you can find her shopping, at the beach, or at the gym. Follow her on Twitter @RachelleWilber