Children and divorce: Tips to help kids cope with the end of a marriage

Going through a divorce can be upsetting for children, but there are things that parents can do to help their kids cope with this type of life change.

Going through a divorce is often an upsetting experience for couples in Maryland, and elsewhere. This type of major life change can be especially hard on the children of divorcing parents. Kids frequently do not understand what is happening, or why, which may lead to feelings of confusion and fear. While dealing with divorce may have its challenges, there are things that parents can do help their children cope with the end of a marriage.

Tell kids what is happening

In an effort to protect them, some parents try to keep a pending divorce a secret from their children. Kids are often more perceptive than they are given credit for, however. As such, they are likely aware that something is amiss, even if they have not been told. Therefore, it is recommended that parents break the news to their children as soon as they are certain of their plans.

When telling their children that they plan to divorce, it is often helpful if both parents are there. The Mayo Clinic points out that parents should be honest in this conversation, but should avoid giving their children all of the details regarding why they are splitting. For example, instead of telling them that one parent was unfaithful, people might tell their children that they are no longer getting along and think it is best they live apart.

Encourage open communication

Children may have a range of reactions upon learning of their parents' plan to divorce, from getting angry to feeling relieved. Even if it is hard for them to hear, it is important that people allow their children to have their reactions and express their feelings. This may help to reduce their anxiety and stress over the change, and assist parents in preventing their children from becoming withdrawn, or suffering other problems as a result of this type of life change. It is advisable for parents to reassure their children that their feelings are normal, and that it is okay for them to feel the way that they are feeling.

Whether right away, or after the news has set in, it is common for children to have questions. They may be concerned about where they will live and how the child custody arrangement will work, among other things. It may be helpful for parents to answer their children's questions as honestly as possible. Understanding what to expect may help kids feel more secure.

Keep negativity away from the kids

When heading for divorce, or during the process, people commonly have disagreements with their spouses. Furthermore, their decision to split may raise concerns about money and other issues. WebMD advises parents to avoid confiding in their children about these problems. Additionally, they should refrain from bad mouthing their exes to their children. This may put undue pressure on children, or have an adverse effect on their relationship with one or both parents.

Work with an attorney

The divorce process may be difficult enough for adults in Towson, and throughout Maryland. It may be more traumatic for children if the process is acrimonious and drawn out. Therefore, parents who are planning to divorce may benefit from obtaining legal representation. An attorney may help reduce their stress and guide them through the negotiation process so they are able to move forward with their lives.