How to Protect Your Children During Divorce

Divorce is complicated enough, to begin with, but things become even more challenging when a couple has children – especially younger ones that likely don’t understand what’s happening.

When a couple gets married, they picture having a family and a life together until they grow old. However, sometimes, couples grow apart, want different things, and find that divorce is the best solution.

If this is your situation, The Betz Law Firm understands what you’re going through. We’ve helped hundreds of families in the St. Louis area navigate the intricacies of divorce and help minimize the impact on their children. This includes protecting your children while going through this complicated time.

To protect your children and ease the stress and anxiety that often accompanies divorce, here are a few steps you can implement as a parent.

Avoid talking negatively about the other parent:

Divorce is fraught with emotions. It can be easy to vent your frustrations about your soon-to-be ex. But remember, they’re still your child’s parent, and unless there’s some undeniable issue like abuse, they will always be there in your child’s life. Speaking negatively of them can damage their relationship with their other parent and impact your child’s emotional and mental well-being.

Communicate with your child early on:

You may think that the longer you put off talking to your children about your divorce, the less time they will have to deal with what’s going on, but this is rarely the case. Children are smart. Even at a very young age, they are intuitive. They may not completely understand, but you can be sure they’re aware. They’ve likely already seen you and your spouse struggle during your relationship or even argue and may be confused about what’s happening.

No matter how difficult it may be, the best thing you can do is sit them down early in the divorce process and explain to them what’s going on in terms they can understand, depending on their age. Assure them they are loved and have nothing to do with why mom and dad are splitting up.

Help your child stay calm:

We understand that this is easier said than done. You may have a hard enough time keeping yourself calm in specific situations, let alone helping your child. Some ways to help them include listening to them when they need to talk, not arguing or yelling when they get upset, taking a break when things get stressful, and changing the subject when the subject gets negative.

Don’t make them choose:

Creating a space where your child feels comfortable and safe voicing their feelings about the divorce is essential. However, do not make them make decisions regarding their custody. From significant decisions like whom they’ll live with to more minor ones like where they want to spend holidays, everything should be discussed between shared parents, not children.

Work hard to stick to the co-parenting arrangement:

Parents must consider how parenting responsibilities should be shared when children are involved in a divorce. Some think sharing time and responsibilities causes more harm than good. However, when done correctly, the benefits of shared custody outweigh the disadvantages for several reasons. When parents collaborate their efforts instead of working against each other, they encourage the healthy development of their children.

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