A divorce can be taxing, and while it can be convenient to turn to your children for support, you should make it a point to use someone else as a shoulder to cry on.
Younger Children and Coping with Divorce
Children can have a difficult time coping with divorce, especially younger ones who may not fully understand what is happening. All they know is that their parents no longer live together and that there are many changes happening.
Their stress levels will only increase if you cry, get angry, or breakdown around them. One of your duties as a parent is to remain a strong leader for your child, and to help them realize that it is possible to emerge from a tough situation intact.
Older Children and Coping with Divorce
Older children, usually those who are in their teens, will often take on more of a parental role with their younger siblings while their parent deals with the lows that sometimes come with divorce. This can be temporarily beneficial for the parent, as well as their children, because it gives the parent time to process the situation without their younger children being completely neglected.
Some days will understandably be harder to cope with than others, but parents should not rely on their teenagers to permanently care for younger children. By stepping into a parental role, the teen is prematurely abandoning their adolescence. This can negatively impact their adulthood, often leading poor judge of character, making impulsive decisions, and experimenting in substance use. Stay vigilant.
Put Children First, Even in Contested Divorce
Even if a divorce is contested and messy, feuding spouses should put their differences aside and make sure their children’s well-being comes first. There are a few different ways this can be accomplished:
- Do not put your child in the middle of arguments.
- Treat your former spouse with respect while in the presence of the child.
- Let your child know that you understand the emotions they are feeling, and encourage them to discuss their thoughts with you.
- Create a parenting schedule with your ex, and stick to it. Routine will help your child cope.
Navigating Divorce with Your Children
Every divorce case is different, and each parent and child will process the divorce in their own unique way. It is crucial to your child’s ability to adapt to such a life changing event by supporting them, rather than depending on them to help you. Venting to your child, or depending on them for emotional support, is counteractive to the child’s recovery. Instead, set time aside each week to meet with friends, family members, or a therapist if you are having a difficult time adjusting to divorce. Alternatively, you may want to spend some time alone and reflect on your thoughts, identify problem areas, and develop strategies for improvement. By engaging positively with others, as well as taking some independent time, you will allow yourself to become a better parent and support system for your child.
The attorneys at Brian D. Perskin & Associates have over 40 years of combined experience with divorce, custody and support cases of all kinds. If you believe that your pending divorce of family law matter will be complicated or difficult, contact the best family law firm in New York City to schedule your complimentary case evaluation today.