When couples separate, it is easy to forget the impact that the separation will have on the whole family, most importantly the children.
Many couples are unsure how to manage their separation in the best interests of the children as they do not know what effect the change in family dynamics will have.
While divorce is understandably a difficult time for all involved, with some careful planning the impact on your children can be minimised.
Here are five tips that will help your children to cope with divorce:
- Talk Together
It is so important that both parents talk to the children together about the separation and explain how this will change the family and what impact it will have on them. It’s helpful to discuss between you what you’re going to say beforehand, so you’re both on the same page.
- No Fault
Let the children know that it’s not their fault and that, although their parents are separating, they will both still be very much involved in their lives. Explain that they can ask either of you questions and talk about how they feel whenever they wish.
Ensure that you listen to your children. You need to be aware of how they are dealing with the separation and how they are feeling.
Try to ensure that your children’s routine is maintained as much as possible. This will be hard as they will now be dividing their lives between two houses but it’s essential to ensure that children maintain as much stability as possible.
If it is not possible to maintain the routine that was in place before the separation, ensure that a new routine is put in place as quickly as possible and that this is followed by both parents to avoid any further upheaval for the children.
- Manage Change
The children will experience enough change in dealing with their parents’ separation so try to ensure they do not experience too many changes at once. For example, if one parent has met a new partner, it is advisable to wait before introducing them into the children’s lives to avoid any further upset or confusion.
Each child will deal with their parents’ separation differently and it may be necessary to look at other ways to help them to deal with their feelings. There are a number of age-appropriate children’s books that help children to understand divorce and separation and what impact this will have on them.
In addition, counselling for children or family counselling is often beneficial to help children to deal with their feelings and in the case of family counselling, to help their parents to understand what impact the separation is having on their children.
Joanne Green is a family law solicitor with Slater and Gordon Lawyers in Milton Keynes.
If you are in the process of divorce or separation and require specialist advice, contact the experts at Slater and Gordon by calling freephone 0800 916 9055 or contact us online.