Parenting Through Divorce

Divorce is a complex and emotionally charged experience, not just for the adults involved, but for children as well. While resources abound on co-parenting strategies and navigating life post-divorce, a crucial aspect often receives less focus: effective parenting during the actual divorce process. In this blog, we will offer tips on various aspects of remaining positive and parenting through divorce.

How to Tell Your Kids You’re Divorcing

Initiating a conversation about divorce with your children is undeniably difficult, but open and honest communication is crucial for their well-being. The approach you take will vary depending on several factors, including your children's ages, maturity levels, and personalities. Younger children may benefit from simpler explanations focused on changes in living arrangements, while teenagers might crave more details about the reasons behind the divorce.

Ideally, both parents should be present when delivering the news. This displays a united front and emphasizes that despite the marital dissolution, your commitment to your children remains unwavering.

Some general tips that can guide how you have this conversation include:

  • Tailor your language to be age-appropriate, avoiding adult-oriented details or assigning blame.
  • Focus on the fact that your love for them will never change.
  • Create a safe space for them to ask questions and express their emotions.
  • Accept that this is likely just the beginning of the conversation, and you should be prepared to offer reassurance and support in the days, weeks, and months to come.

Read our blog, “How to Tell Your Children About the Divorce,” for more tips on navigating this conversation.

Tips for Maintaining a Stable Home Environment During Divorce

Divorce can undoubtedly disrupt the sense of normalcy within your home. However, by prioritizing stability and open communication, you can create a secure and supportive environment for your children during this challenging time.

Some strategies you can employ to make sure your home is a safe place include:

  • Maintain routines and schedules. Children thrive on predictability. As much as possible, stick to familiar bedtimes, mealtimes, and extracurricular activities.
  • Open communication is key. Encourage your children to express their feelings and answer their questions honestly and age-appropriately.
  • Minimize conflict. Avoid arguing with your ex-partner in front of your children. If disagreements arise, deal with them privately and respectfully and, if possible, outside the home.
  • Create a safe space for emotions. Let your children know it's okay to feel sad, angry, or confused. Offer comfort and reassurance.

Helping Your Child Process Their Emotions

Divorce, like any major loss, can trigger a grieving process for both you and your children. You may experience a range of emotions mirroring the well-known stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. While the timeline and intensity of these emotions will vary, it's crucial to acknowledge and express them in a healthy way.

You can help your kids understand and healthily express their emotions by:

  • Creating a safe space for open communication. Let your child know they can talk to you about anything, no matter how difficult it may seem.
  • Validating their feelings. Reassure your child that their emotions are normal and encourage them to express themselves freely. This does not mean validating unhealthy outlets or behaviors but simply acknowledging that it’s okay and normal to feel sad or upset.
  • Maintaining consistent routines. Provide a sense of stability by sticking to familiar routines for meals, bedtime, and other activities.
  • Answering their questions honestly. Address their concerns in an age-appropriate manner and avoid overwhelming them with details.
  • Encouraging healthy coping methods. Activities like journaling, drawing, or playing sports can help them process their emotions constructively.
  • Seeking professional support if needed. If your child is struggling to cope, consider seeking guidance from a therapist or counselor specializing in children of divorce.

It is also important to process your own emotions during your divorce. Bottling up your feelings can hinder your emotional wellbeing and make it difficult to support your children through their own grieving process.

Need help navigating your divorce and/or custody case. Call (718) 550-3024 to get started on your case today.