Dos and don’ts of helping Texas children cope with divorce

Going through a divorce is a difficult experience for all involved, however, there are things that people can do to help their children cope.

As many people in Texas are aware, going through a divorce can be an upsetting and disruptive experience for those involved. This is especially true for the children of divorcing parents, who may not understand the reason s behind this major life change. While the end of a marriage will likely always hold challenges for the kids, there are things that parents can do to help them cope.

Do tell the kids you are divorcing

Sometimes, parents will avoid telling their children about their plans to divorce in an effort to shield them. However, kids often notice that something is up, even if they have not been told. Therefore, it is advisable that people tell their children that they are getting divorced as soon as they are sure of their plans.

The Mayo Clinic recommends that parents have this discussion together with their kids. This may help people to better reassure their children, which may reduce the anxiety and stress that this news may cause them.

Do not introduce any other major changes

With divorce often comes a number of changes, including the separation of one household into two. The changes that must be made when couples divorce can be disruptive enough for their children. For this reason, it is suggested that people avoid introducing other significant changes right away whenever possible. This may include moving kids to a new school, or out of the state, or introducing them to a new boyfriend or girlfriend too quickly.

Do expect mixed reactions

Just as adults have different responses to divorces, so do children. It is important that parents are prepared for a range of reactions when they tell their kids they are getting divorced. Some children may be sad or angry, while others may feel a sense of relief. Parents should let their kids know that it is okay to feel how they do, and encourage them to communicate their feelings. This may help them stay in touch with how their children are coping, which may allow them to seek professional help if their kids need it.

Do not confide in children

Too often, adults have mixed emotions when it comes to divorce. For many, it is helpful for them to discuss their feelings and the situations they are dealing with. While it is important for parents to keep the lines of communication open with their kids, WebMD cautions against them confiding in their children.

Speaking to kids about their financial worries, disagreements and other adult concerns or feelings may only add to their anxiety during an already difficult time. Instead, people should talk to their friends or a therapist about such issues.

Do continue parenting as normal

It is common for people to feel a sense of guilt when they are going through a divorce. As a result, they may allow their children liberties that they otherwise would not have, or shower them with gifts. In some cases, however, this can actually be detrimental to their children, and may adversely affect how they cope with the divorce. Therefore, it is suggested that people continue to parent as they always have when they are going through a divorce, and after their divorces are finalized.

Seek legal assistance

The longer a divorce is drawn out, the more challenging it can be for families in Texas, and elsewhere. Thus, it may be of benefit for those who are considering divorce to obtain legal representation. An attorney may help guide them through the process, and negotiate on their behalf. This may help to reduce the stress and animosity that divorce proceedings may carry.