Guiding Children through a Divorce

This aspect of a break-up is the most complicated aspect of a divorce to handle. Certainly, if the divorce is amicable then the needs to children can be prioritized. However, that may not be your particular situation. With that in mind, this article will share some things which may help your family cope with the changes that divorce brings.

Children and divorce

  • Advice is best lived, not taught – You Must be Healthy. It’s easy to elevate the needs of the children above that of your own. It’s “parental” to feel that way, but it isn’t healthy. In a divorce setting, no one will benefit from you being devastated emotionally, physically, and financially. Allowing yourself to continue to suffer imbalance in life will be seen and quite possibly misinterpreted by your children. The lessons they will learn from you during this time are lasting. If you want your children to adjust to a post-marriage life in a healthy way you’ll have to live healthy for your sake alone. It may sound counter-intuitive but as you find that spirit of inner peace with your life your home will exude that spirit and your children will find comfort in that. Often times the pain they suffer comes from watching their beloved parents suffer.
  • A Family can change and still be a family. A break up of a marriage and family will set into motion a state of evolution into your family’s life. Do not fight it or struggle to keep things as they were. Embrace the change and instruct your children that changes will occur that cannot be avoided but that you will still be a family. Take time to do things that reaffirm your family. Reaffirm your family spirit again and again.
  • There’s safety in numbers. A divorce or death of a marriage is like a death in the family. It can instill in children a sense of dread, fear, and isolation. Involve family members in the lives of your children so that they can “feel” that the family remains intact even though the marriage is ending. These gentle affirmations will give children opportunities to overcome the uncertainties ahead of them.
  • Family counseling is a resource. As the parent, it’s important to remember that you’re not the first person to go through a divorce. In fact, many have gone through a divorce and among them some have fared well and others have not. You can benefit from the wisdom of hindsight and learn from other’s experiences. Getting family counseling is an effective way for each family member to receive guidance and minimize the mistakes that are commonly made by people in these circumstances.
  • Be honest with yourself. You are not the only one who will know if you stand in need of help but you are the only one who can bring about change in your life. A healthy adjustment to life during and after a divorce will be invaluable to your children. Regardless of the blame you bear in the divorce, a healthy life through divorce will strengthen the bonds of your relationship with your children and bring about whatever level of forgiveness is needed to restore those relationships.

Remember that family bonds are forever. They can endure a divorce. If you maintain a spirit of peace in your heart during adversity that will be the lesson your children will long remember.

“However, many families in Virginia and the throughout the United States do not remain “intact” — the parents separate or divorce and live apart. Or increasingly, the parents choose not to marry and may or may not live together when the child is born. When separating and divorcing parents cannot agree on who should make decisions for their child (e.g., medical care, religion, or schooling), where the child should live, or how much one parent should see the child, they are in dispute over what the legal system has historically called “custody” of a child.

The core method by which a court resolves the parents’ dispute is through a traditional litigation model. The disputing parents bring their disagreement to a judge who hears evidence and makes a decision about what the child’s post separation and divorce custody arrangements should be.”