Divorce is difficult for all involved. Adults can generally navigate the process, they can understand that there are many things that contribute to the divorce and reach out to friends, family, and professionals for support when going through this difficult life change.
The same is not always true for children. Children do not yet have the life experience to navigate this transition. They know what they experience, and during a divorce they are experiencing their parents shifting from one home to two. Perceptive parents will notice when their children are struggling and put in the effort to see the impact of the divorce through their children’s eyes.
Noticing the impact is one thing — taking steps to help their children navigate it another. Parents can take a child-centric approach to their divorce to help their children better adapt to the change in their family structure.
What is a child-centric approach?
A child-centric approach is one that keeps the children at the forefront of the divorce. The parents go through the process with the goal of making the transition as easy as possible for the children.
How do I take a child-centric approach to my divorce?
Although the best tactic will vary with each family situation, some tips that help achieve this goal can include:
- Address the divorce. Children often mistakenly believe they are the cause of the divorce. Let children know that this is not true. Try to explain the reason for the divorce in a way that does not place blame on the other parent while reassuring the child that they are not the cause.
- Consider co-parenting. Experts encourage parents who are going through a divorce to play an active role in raising the children. When possible, it is helpful to have children spend quality time with each parent. Studies show that when done wisely, this arrangement can lead to children that have better grades, are less likely to use drugs, and are less susceptible to anxiety.
- Speak carefully. It is also important to avoid speaking poorly of the other parent in front of the children. Children often pick up on the tension. The same research noted above also finds that child do better when there is less conflict within the family.
It is important to remember that although you are no longer with the other parent, your ex is still your children’s parent. Family life is different, but the child-centric approach recognizes that a family life through the eyes of the chilren is still present.
There are steps to the divorce process that can also help to better ensure a child-centric approach. An attorney experienced in this niche area of family law can discuss these and other options to help better ensure you find the right fit for your family.