A new year has begun and you might be among thousands of other people in Alaska who have certain goals in mind for 2020. If one of them happens to be filing for divorce, you might also have numerous concerns regarding your children’s ability to cope. Divorce is never easy. It’s a fact that it automatically prompts major changes in children’s lives. However, it doesn’t necessarily have to ruin them.
Being proactive is your best bet to helping your kids come to terms with your current circumstances. You may notice that their emotions, moods and demeanors fluctuate. A key to helping them adapt to a new lifestyle is letting them know that they are free to express their feelings with you at any time. It also helps if you and your ex can work as a team to create a co-parenting plan that keeps your children’s best interests in mind.
There is no “right way” to react
If you have several children in various age groups, you may find that they each take the news of your pending divorce in a unique way. Younger kids are not likely to understand things as fully as an older teenager might. No matter what their ages, you can help your kids cope by acknowledging their feelings.
Knowing they can trust you to share what’s on their mind without you getting upset gives them valuable coping skills to help them process their emotions. If they ask questions, provide enough information to satisfy their queries without giving more details than they are mature enough to handle or need to know.
Parental conflict can have serious, negative effects
It’s not uncommon for spouses to disagree about parenting issues in divorce. You and your ex will do a lot more to help your children cope, however, if you agree to not expose them to parental conflict. It’s okay to let them know that you and their other parent are struggling to achieve an agreement that keeps their best interests in mind.
It’s another matter altogether, however, if you are constantly arguing in front of them or saying negative things about each other in your children’s presence. Children may feel confused, upset and highly stressed in such cases.
Routines and structure are helpful tools as well
While your kids do need to understand that not everything will be the same as it was when you and your ex lived in the same household, the more normalcy you can provide in their daily life, the better able to cope they are likely to be. Children thrive on structure and routine.
If you and your kids have certain customs during the week, like eating pizza on Fridays, for instance, feel free to keep those traditions alive. Focusing on chores, schoolwork and other daily activities can also help provide a healthy distraction from divorce proceedings.
Kids love both parents
Most Alaska family court judges would agree that children of divorce fare best when they are free to express their love for both parents and to stay closely connected to each parent as well. Unless there is an extenuating circumstance that would prompt a judge to restrict or prohibit visitation, you and your ex can help your kids adapt by respecting each other as parents.
If problems arise
If one or more of your children are having trouble coming to terms with your divorce, you might consider seeking licensed counseling or encouraging them to talk to a close friend who has been through a similar experience.
When a parent refuses to cooperate or when he or she disregards an existing child custody order, it can greatly impede a child’s ability to cope. If you’re facing a legal issue you do not feel equipped to handle on your own, you will do yourself and your kids a favor by reaching out for support.