If you find the prospect of separation and divorce to be daunting, just imagine how your children feel. By working to maintain a healthy separation, divorcing parents can make the process gentler for their children. It will never feel good to them, but you can, at least, support them through the difficulties with behaviors that demonstrate your willingness to put their needs first and to continue to parent them together even if you don’t live together anymore.
Get Emotional Support
If the separation process has you and your children feeling anxious and stressed, it is sure to be beneficial to seek counseling. A good counselor can give the family coping tips and strategies for dealing with their negative emotions during the separation and subsequent divorce process. If you are unsure of where to obtain this counseling, talk to your collaborative law attorney who may have a list of resources that can help you find the support you and your family need.
Prepare Your Kids
An abrupt change in their home life can be traumatic for children. If possible, it’s best to prepare the children by telling them about a pending separation before it happens. If one parent moves out within a day or two with little notice, the children are likely to take this change hard. By helping them understand that this will be a gentle process and that they will continue to have access to both parents, you can provide them with the reassurance they need to get through the crises with less emotional upheaval.
Support Their Need for Stability
Separation is enough chaos for your kids to handle. Make sure that other areas of their lives remain as stable as possible. It would not be a good time to switch their schools or move out of state. Try to keep them in the same sports, enjoying play dates with their usual friends, and adhering to their typical daily routines. This is not the time to be introducing other love interests. This can have a horrifying impact on a child’s emotional wellbeing. Give them time to fully heal and adjust before you start introducing them to new people in your life.
If you keep these tips in mind and commit to sharing parental responsibilities, you can separate with the degree of mutual respect you need to co-parent even though you no longer intend to remain marital partners. Separation is a traumatic change in the life of your children, but it doesn’t have to be a curse or a burden to their lives if you handle it appropriately and do all you can to ensure their well-being during the process.