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Things to do and things to avoid regarding children and divorce

On Behalf of | Jan 23, 2020 | Child Custody |

If you’re a parent and considering divorce in Kentucky, your children’s best interests are no doubt a main concern, whether you have toddlers and young children or a house full of teenagers.

In either case, when you inform your children that you are filing for divorce, they are likely to experience a wide range of emotions in the weeks and months ahead. There are several issues to keep in mind as you try to provide encouragement and support while your kids come to terms with the situation and learn to move on in life in as healthy a manner as possible.

Your kids might worry whether you still love them

As an adult, you have a sense of maturity that allows you to separate your marital situation from feelings and obligations associated with parenting. You love your children and want what is best for them. The problem is that even older kids might not be mature enough to grasp the fact that your divorce does not place your love for them at risk.

Therefore, it’s helpful to verbally remind your children that you love them. It also helps them gain the coping skills they need if you let them know that they are free to express their feelings to you or their other parent at any time. No one will get upset with them if they feel angry, sad, confused or afraid. Kids need to hear this from their parents.

Avoid negative comments and behavior

Let’s say your ex keeps not showing up at the appointed place and time to transfer custody of your kids. Such situations might cause your blood to stir, and it’s understandable that you might feel frustrated or angry. Children, however, tend to take their cues from their parents. If your kids hear you speaking negatively about your ex or witness you and your co-parent fighting, the exposure to parental conflict can have adverse effects on their mental and physical health.

It’s best to try to avoid contention or confrontation in front of your children. That’s not to say you should disregard inappropriate behavior from your ex, especially if such behavior involves disobedience to an existing court order. The point is this: Your children do not need to be exposed to every negative issue that arises in your post-divorce co-parenting relationship.

Keep the peace for their sake

One of the most helpful coping skills you can give your kids is to let them see that you and your ex are willing to be flexible and to cooperate with each other for your children’s sake. When they believe their best interests come first, they are more likely to adapt to their new lifestyle in a healthy manner.

Sometimes, keeping the peace might require negotiating a particular issue or even asking the court to intervene to help resolve a specific problem. Divorce is rarely without stress; however, you can be hopeful that you and your children can avoid negative repercussions by encouraging each other and tapping into available support resources as needed.