Helping Children Find Happiness and a Sense of Security After a Divorce
Divorce often marks the beginning of a happier, more evolved life for the formerly married parties. Some people discover their passion or find a new love. Others return to their roots for love and support, which may ultimately deepen their relationships with extended family and old friends. Whatever the scenario, divorce can ultimately change people for the better. Sadly, the same cannot always be said for the children of divorce.
Understanding Why Children Are So Vulnerable in a Divorce
Children of divorce are often victims of circumstance with little to no decision-making power in the process. If their parents decide to sell the family home and both move into a smaller or cheaper place, the child may be forced to change schools. When parents struggle to get along or agree on specific, child-related matters (i.e. what religion the child should practice or where they should go to school) they may be caught in the middle of a long and contentious battle over parenting time issues or the allocation of parental responsibilities.
In short, contentious divorce proceedings can leave a child feeling as though their entire life is hanging in the balance. Children may also begin to experience maladjustment issues, and if parents miss the warning signs, it can increase the risk of long-term mental health problems.
Improving the Outcome of Divorce for Your Child
For decades, parents put off the idea of divorce because they feared that it would have a negative impact on their children. With divorce becoming more common, scientists and researchers are debunking the theory that divorce itself causes issues for children. Instead, they are finding that the child’s environment and the nature of the proceedings (i.e. interactions between parents, whether there are issues with parental alienation or abuse, etc.) that have the greatest impact on a child’s development. For example, one study found that children may actually experience worse outcomes if their parents stayed in an unhealthy marriage instead of getting a divorce.
Studies have also shown that amicable proceedings are far better for children than those filled with contention. Outcomes for children of divorce also tend to be better when their parents strive for a positive co-parenting relationship in which the child’s need for a healthy relationship with both biological parents is both strived for and understood. Some other things you can do to help your child find happiness, even in the midst of proceedings, can include:
- Assuring your child that the divorce will not change your love for them;
- Giving your child honest answers about the divorce while still being careful not to divulge too much information about the messy details (i.e. why you and your spouse are separating, discussing money matters with your child, etc.);
- Providing your child with advance warning of any changes, whenever possible, and explaining how those changes might impact their lives. Remind your child that change is only hard for a little while, and then things get easier;
- Allow your child room to talk about their feelings (note that some situations may warrant the assistance of a family therapist or child psychologist);
- Let your child share the exciting moments they have with the other parent; and
- Provide an empathetic ear when things go wrong with the other parent, but never get in the middle of the relationship. Remember that the best way to support your child is to protect their relationship with the other parent.
Contact Our Wheaton Divorce Lawyers
At Davi Law Group, LLC, the welfare and best interests of children are the top priority in every case. Seasoned and experienced, our DuPage County family law attorneys will work hard to ensure your parental rights are protected, and that every aspect of your child’s life and well-being are carefully considered during the parenting plan development process. Call 630-580-6373 to schedule a consultation with our office today.