Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Taking your children through the divorce process

No, I don't mean divorcing your children, although I am sure that sometimes that is tempting.

But it is a challenge to get a divorce, deal with the change in your family set-up, and dealing with the changes that the children are going through.

I came across this really good advice, and thought I should share it with you:

I especially like the advice about making sure the children understand that they are not to be blamed for the divorce.

The only thing I would add is that you need to reassure the children that you both still love them and that you will both make sure that they are cared for.  Don't make specific promises, because it is unlikely that you will be able to deliver on them.  Don't promise that they will stay in the house, or school district, or that visitation will be set up a certain way.  Even if you and your spouse do not see eye to eye, you can certainly tell them that you both love them and that you will make sure they are cared for.  That is all they need to know.

I always tell parents that when children ask about the divorce, they just want to know the general concepts.  Yes, we are getting a divorce.  Yes, there will be changes, but we both love you and you will be taken care of.  Other than that, they probably do not really want to know if someone had an affair or what the current financial picture is.  If they are asking that, someone may have put them up to that.  I always tell parents to respond by saying that those are adult issues and that you and your spouse (or in post-decree cases, former spouse) will be taking care of those matters.  If you are arguing, you can admit that you do not agree on everything, but do not include the details of the argument.  Overall, most parents report to me that the children are satisfied with this answer.  If not, you might want to consider counseling, since there is a concern that the child or children are being too involved in this process.

This is probably one of the most difficult issues with respect to divorce, followed by dealing with the financial fallout.  Hopefully this article is helpful.

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