Parents who are in the throes of a divorce know exactly how complicated the process can be — in psychological, emotional, financial and legal terms. Just as it’s complicated for you, however, it’s also complicated for your children. As such, you may want to consider what your child is going through so you can support him or her to “weather the divorce storm.”
One thing parents will need to keep in mind is that children do not immediately understand the permanence of divorce. Kids who are born into a family with a mom and dad expect life to always be like that. Some children may have a hard time letting go of the wishful idea that their parents will soon be back together again. This wishful thinking may be a coping mechanism to reduce the pain of divorce for your young child. Teenagers will usually accept the permanence of divorce more readily.
Many children will have fears along the lines of, “Who’s going to take care of me?” and “Will my parents also stop loving me if they stopped loving each other?” It’s important to make every effort to soothe your child’s fears following a divorce. Ensure your child that both mom and dad will continue to love him or her.
If your child adopts coping mechanisms after divorce — like difficult behavior patterns, separation anxiety and tantrums — it could be a sign that your child wants to be more connected to his or her sense of family following the serious disconnection of divorce. Keeping all this in mind, be sure to give your child the attention and reassurance that he or she needs to feel secure following your divorce process. Your family law attorney may be able to provide you with healthful and balanced parenting plan options and visitation schedules that will support your child in this regard.