Divorce can go both ways. It could be a devastating break-up filled with bright memories that have since faded or an amicable one that’s best for you both. But as a parent, either route can lead to a fragmented family and children who need answers.
By easing your children into the changes of divorce, you’re effectively preserving their hope for the future and leaving their relational outlook unscathed. Follow these steps to guide your kids through, and contact the Law Offices of Jennifer Owens if your Orange County divorce requires co-parenting services.
1. Remain an Involved Parent
For non-custodial parents who wish to separate from their former family completely, divorce may be their ticket out of parenthood. But for those who wish to stay close, connected, and involved in their children’s lives, it’s more of an obstacle. Co-parenting and sharing time with your ex-spouse can be challenging at times, especially in more contentious divorces. Still, it’s crucial to continue investing time in your children. Most kids still want both of their parents to be around, so it’s crucial to recognize this and appeal to it.
Carve time out of your busy schedule to do more than simply drop them off and pick them up from school, whether you’re hitting Disneyland for the day or just grabbing an ice cream down the street.
2. Nix Any Negativity
Divorce is generally negative for children. It may be what’s best for you and your spouse, but for your young ones, it just feels like the family is splitting apart. And talking negatively about your spouse in front of your children will only deepen that pain.
During this rocky time, your children’s trust and emotions are fragile. Sharing negative sentiments either directly to your children or indirectly, such as while on the phone and within earshot, won’t ease the brevity of the divorce. Instead of pushing your child to take sides, limit any negative remarks when the kids are around.
3. Help Them Voice Their Emotions
Children, especially young ones, are often afraid to express their emotions about the divorce out of fear and confusion. They may even assume they’re the reason, so they don’t want to bring it up. So, along with lending your ear, encourage your children to open up about the divorce.
You can do so by letting them know that the divorce is by no fault of their own. Also, inform them that it’s completely normal to express any feelings of anger, confusion, anxiety, or depression. These emotions usually fade over time, but encouraging these discussions should expedite the process.
4. Maintain the Same Routines
Obviously, divorce is going to tweak your day-to-day routine. Maybe your partner used to drop off and grab them from school, or you had a yearly family trip to Big Bear for the holidays. While these normalities may fade, it’s the day-to-day structure that matters post-divorce.
For your kids’ benefit, establish a consistent, predictable routine for the week. With the changes of divorce already fresh in their minds, the last thing your children need is another reason to be confused. Keep routines to give your children a sense of peace and stability, but don’t go soft on them. Your divorce is no reason to allow broken rules or misbehavior.
5. Is Counseling Necessary?
If you’ve taken these steps yet, your child is still weighed down by the divorce, a counselor or child therapist could be helpful. If you’re working with an Orange County divorce mediator, they’ll likely have local referrals to point you towards. These professionals can ensure that your child’s sadness is saved before evolving into depression and that their anxiety towards the divorce doesn’t solidify. By establishing a framework for healing and retaining hope for the future, your child’s relational outlook can be left unscathed by the divorce.
The Benefits of Mediating Your Orange County Divorce
Are you a co-parent who’s struggling to reach a certain agreement with your spouse? Whether it’s custody troubles, visitation decisions, or a full-fledged parenting agreement that needs drafting, our Orange County divorce mediators can help. At the Law Offices of Jennifer Owens, we revel in the power of choice. When spouses face divorce, they’re presented with a slew of decisions with a handful of potential outcomes. Our attorneys are believers in the best possible outcome, where a former couple chooses peace over destruction so that they can finally move on to their next chapter. No matter your desired path – mediation, a negotiated settlement, or even litigation – The Law Offices of Jennifer Owens will help you achieve the best possible outcome by reaching a settlement that keeps all involved parties in mind. Visit our website to review our family law services, or contact us online for a free consultation.