5 Ways to Make the Divorce Process a Little Easier on Your Kids

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Getting divorced may truly be the best decision for your family, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t hard. That’s especially true when it comes to children. The divorce process is always going to be hard on the kids who are involved, but there are ways you can make it a little easier.

Understand Child Custody and Other Terms

Understanding child custody is trickier than it seems, especially if you’ve never been exposed to the process before. 

Child custody is different than physical custody. Things get even more complicated when you have to consider child visitation, third party custody, and joint custody. Making changes to a custody arrangement isn’t easy from a legal standpoint, but it can be especially hard on children who have already dealt with a previous custody arrangement.

That’s why it’s so important to take the time to understand exactly what every type of arrangement entails. When you do, you’re able to iron out a custody arrangement that works for every member of your family. You’re able to reduce confusion, and you’re better able to explain the situation more clearly to your kids.

Minimize Conflict With Your Ex

Most exes feel some kind of anger, disappointment, and other negative feelings towards each other. It’s easy to let those negative feelings get the best of you, which means yelling and fighting.

All that tension can be hard on your kids. It’s much better to try your best to avoid conflict with your ex. A few tips for avoiding conflict with your ex include:

  • Avoid talking about hot-button issues
  • Do your best to find some common ground
  • Don’t be afraid to say you don’t want to talk about a particular subject
  • Try changing the subject
  • Remind yourself that their opinion doesn’t have to be a problem for you

If you’re having a hard time communicating with your ex, consider getting some outside help. You could attend family counseling, or you could work with a counselor on your own to learn strategies to communicate better.

Be Transparent

Kids are smart. Even very young kids know when something is wrong, and they can tell if they’re being lied to. That’s why it’s important to be as honest and transparent as possible when talking about your divorce with your kids.

Focus on providing healthy answers to their questions, which means telling them how your divorce will impact their life while avoiding the baggage that led to the divorce in the first place. Update them throughout the process, and if you can, talk to your kids together with your ex. It gives children the sense that you’re still a family unit and everyone is tackling the divorce together.

Let Your Child Express Their Feelings

Children don’t always react to divorce like you might expect. Some children may hide their feelings inside and develop a mental health issue, like depression or anxiety, in the future. Other kids may act out, engage in risk-taking behaviors, or suddenly have grades that tank.

Let your child express their feelings, and keep your eye out for behavior changes so you can address them with kindness. Hanging with new friends, getting bad grades, and acting out at school should be approached with compassion instead of anger.

Don’t avoid sharing your feelings, either. Let your children see you cry when you’re sad or yell out in frustration. Just make sure you avoid attaching those feelings to your ex. Instead, tie them to the situation. It gives your child the freedom to do the same.

Let Your Child Be the Boss

Kids don’t feel like they have a lot of control when they’re in the middle of a divorce. It results in power struggles and can greatly impact their mental health in the long run.

Give your child the opportunity to be the boss whenever you can. Even small wins are powerful. A few ideas for giving your child some control include:

  • Letting them decide what they bring to the new apartment
  • Allowing them to choose how they decorate their new room
  • Asking them to choose the pizza toppings
  • Letting them decide when they want to tackle their homework

Building a new routine can be powerful too. When children know what to expect, they feel a sense of control over their day.

Divorce is always going to be hard, but there are things you can do to make things a little easier. When things are a little easier for your kids, you’ll find they are a little easier for you too.

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