Getting divorced is difficult for many people, but having children can
complicate the process even further. Many parents are often grieving the
end of a relationship and stressed over the cost of the divorce or the
change in living arrangements. While many people also love their children,
parents can often make the wrong decision when it comes to the
divorce process. Here are our top dos and don’ts for parents going through
a divorce for the first time.
Do Talk to Your Kids
Children, particularly young ones, may not understand what is happening
during the divorce process. Keeping them informed of the situation may
help them understand it better. Kids can be egocentric, meaning their
world revolves around them. If you and your spouse are divorcing, your
child might actually think he or she is the cause. Telling your child
that separation is natural and has nothing to do with them might help
him or her cope better with the events.
Do Keep Things Stable
It may be hard to keep things normal if one spouse is no longer living
in the home, but keeping your child’s schedule relatively stable
can help them adjust to the change in situation. A routine offers a kid
a sense of stability even as the parental relationship shifts.
Do Hold Kids Accountable for Their Behavior
Part of keeping a stable household is holding children accountable for
poor behavior. Just because the home is experiencing a change, it doesn’t
mean he or she can act out and not get punished for it. A certain level
of anger and emotional outburst is normal, but destructive or harmful
behavior shouldn’t be reinforced by letting it slide throughout
the divorce process.
Don’t Use Your Child as a Go-Between/ Weapon
Some parents are so bitter about the divorce or about their spouse’s
behavior that they don’t even want to look at them, never mind talk
to them. However, when a parent uses a child as a communication device,
they’ve gone too far. Your child is not a messenger between you
and your spouse. If you can’t bear to talk to your ex, write a letter.
Likewise, telling your child how bitter or angry you feel about your spouse
to turn your kid against the other parent is unwise and unfair. Your relationship
with your spouse may be broken, but that’s no reason to help break
the relationship between your child and his or her parent.
Don’t Alienate Your Child from Your Spouse
Parental alienation is a set of behaviors one parent might use to limit
contact with the other parent. These practices are usually used to try
and increase a child’s love for one spouse and decrease a child’s
love for the other spouse. This behavior is also extremely unhealthy and
can backfire if a
child custody judge notices the manipulation.
Don’t Burden Your Child with Your Emotions
While communication with your child is important, they may not be developmentally
capable of handling your grief and anger. Save that for other adults,
such as friends, family, or a therapist. Everyone needs to experience
their emotions, but sharing your anxiety and resentment with your children
may make them feel at a loss for what to do.
If you’re thinking of divorcing, ensure you have a compassionate
and experienced Houston divorce attorney on your side. The
Law Office of Kathryn Marteeny can provide you and your family with 30 years of
family law experience. Our empathetic lawyers are dedicated to helping you pursue
your goals. Let us discuss your case with you in a consultation.
Contact us at (713) 936-2300 or fill out our online form to schedule your consultation today.