Helping you cross the

legal finish line

3 ways to help your children when you divorce

Every Michigan family is unique. Your family’s needs might be different from your neighbors’. Even within a particular family, every member has a personality that is distinct from the rest. As a parent, you understand that changes in family life can have a profound impact on your children, especially a divorce. This type of change disrupts children’s lives and may be emotionally upsetting for them, as well.

As you help your children navigate a divorce and adapt to a new lifestyle after the judge issues a final decree, you might notice that some days are better than others. One child might seem to be handling the situation in a healthy manner while another is struggling. There are several ways that you can provide encouragement and support, so that each of your children is able to process his or her emotions and move forward in life with as little stress as possible.

Tell your children that you love them and that your divorce is not their fault

Many parents make the mistake of assuming that their kids know they love them and that they understand that their divorce was not their fault. The fact is that children often internalize their parents’ problems and blame themselves. To help your kids come to terms with the changes your divorce is bringing to their lives, try to take time to verbally let them know how much you love them, and remind them that nothing they have done has caused you and their other parent to end your relationship.

Avoid parental conflict and negative speech in front of the kids

If your children constantly hear you and your ex arguing (especially if the disagreement pertains to them), they may feel tense, sad, confused or frightened. This is also true in situations where children hear one parent bad-mouthing the other. Your kids might be better able to deal with your divorce if you and your ex agree to avoid negative speech about each other.

Co-parent with a cooperative mindset

When you file for divorce in a Michigan court, you and your former spouse must execute a child custody agreement. Whether you devise the plan yourselves or a judge does it for you, your children may fare a lot better if you approach the process as a team (or even business allies) rather than adversaries.

If your children witness their parents working together, discussing important issues in a peaceful manner and cooperating as needed, they no doubt will feel less stressed than children who are stuck in the middle of an unending parental feud. If an issue arises that you don’t feel equipped to handle on your own, you should not hesitate to reach out for additional support. Children can learn coping skills by watching their parents resolve differences in an amicable fashion. Divorce changes kids’ lives, but it doesn’t have to ruin them.