Your marital relationship has reached a point where you decided it was time to go your separate ways. Part of your reasoning may be because you don’t want to continue subjecting your children to your arguing, discord and ill feelings toward each other. After all, they aren’t the reason that you and your spouse can no longer live together as a married couple.
Like other parents here in New Jersey, you and your spouse may agree that you need to protect your children as much as possible from the divorce process. In order to do that, you decide to work together to create a parenting plan that provides them as much access to each of you as possible and helps them maintain some consistency, security and support as they transition into a new way of life.
Some strategies to help you through this challenging time
In the meantime, you and the other parent could employ one or all of the strategies below to help your children as everyone struggles to adjust:
- Don’t subconsciously rely on your children for the emotional support you need right now. If you are struggling, turn to a counselor, friend or family member, not your children.
- Don’t try to paint the divorce as a “happy” occasion or tell your kids to “just accept it.” Allow everyone to acknowledge that the situation is less than ideal and sadness is part of the healing process.
- Don’t let your children hear your own stress and complaints as you move through the process. Children tend to pick up on your emotions, which can cause them unnecessary stress, anxiety and fear.
- Try to keep their routines as consistent as possible between households. Children crave structure, and they need it now more than ever.
- Your relationship with your spouse may be over, but he or she will continue to be your children’s parent no matter what. Encourage your children to foster their relationship with the other parent so they don’t feel any guilt about enjoying time with their other parent.
- When you break the news to you kids, tell them together. They need to know that you are willing to put aside the issues in your personal relationship in order to continue to love and support them now and in the future.
Finally, as you negotiate your parenting plan, keep their needs at the forefront. The plan you create provides the outline and foundation for how you and the other parent will work together to make sure that your children know they are loved, supported and remain a focus in both your lives.