As a divorcing parent, you likely want to do everything possible to lessen the impact of divorce on your children. This is often a confusing and stressful time for all, but communication barriers and immaturity can often affect minor children in unexpected and traumatic ways during a divorce. At some point, you will need to discuss child custody and visitation arrangements with them in an age-appropriate manner, so read on to learn some tips for dealing with your child's concerns ahead of time.
Address the issue early on: While it's easy to put off dealing with it, don't procrastinate. Your children, no matter their age, likely already know that something is up. When children are puzzled, they fill in facts from their own imaginations. Ensure that you address their concerns and fears as soon as you are able to prevent them from imagining far worst scenarios.
Work together with your spouse. For the sake of your children, form a united front to present to your child, with both of you working together to assure the child that you both still love them and will continue to care for them, even if you two are not physically together anymore. It should be noted that the degree that you and your spouse can work together on child custody, visitation and every other aspect of your divorce will greatly affect your child and their ability to weather this divorce. You may consider using divorce attorneys to work through the legalities in the most fair and civil way possible.
Stay positive. It can take an enormous effort to find anything positive about divorce, but for the sake of your children it's important to keep an upbeat attitude nevertheless. Children are sensitive little creatures, so take steps to ensure that you don't allow your fears, anxiety, depression and other negative emotions to take over your life. Additionally, don't be tempted to take a negative attitude about your spouse, your child needs to view both of you in a positive light.
Keep details and information to a minimum. You can judge for yourself how much the child needs to know about the situation by taking into account their age. Keep it simple and only give them as much information as you feel is necessary; children are easily confused and can get overwhelmed by too much. In addition, be cautious about allowing them input into the custody and visitation arrangements. You may be placing an adult burden on a child.
To place a high priority on protecting your child from the most negative aspects of divorce, consult with a family therapist.