THINKING OF THE CHILDREN

During a divorce, tempers and emotions can both run high. It's a difficult period for the couple that is bringing their relationship to an end, and moving through a divorce with dignity can be quite a challenge.

One thing that often gets lost in the chaos is the fact that when children are involved, they often take a backseat as the parents argue over everything from custody to equitable distribution of property and more. But a divorce can very well shape a child's mind and even impact their future in tremendous ways. While this doesn't mean that 'staying together for the kids' is a good idea, it does mean that parents who are separating should at the very least pay attention to how the process is impacting the kids. A few tips can help.

  • First, and most importantly, don't fight in front of the children. While it's easy for tempers to flare up and cause you to lose control, try to remember all of the people sharing your home. Staying calm and carrying on discussions with a level head is always the best option, but if an argument is ensuing it's best to make sure the kids aren't involved.
  • Talk to them about what's going on. Kids aren't dumb - they know when things aren't right. But they can easily blame themselves for what's happening, especially if constant fights about things like custody are what they're hearing. Take the time to make the kids feel loved and to explain to them that they're not the reason for the divorce.
  • Think about their best interest when it comes to custody or living arrangements. Pride can get in the way here, as can the overwhelming love for a child. But the reality is that in almost any case, living with one parent is probably a better living situation for kids than the other. Think about this during the divorce and try to put their lives and their futures ahead of personal space.
  • Compromise matters. Often, when working with an estranged spouse to come to divorce agreements, compromising can make things easier not only for you, but for your kids as well. Think about what's truly important and work towards a more amicable separation,and the kids will often benefit from it.

The bottom line is simple - kids are a huge part of your life and always will be. Going through divorce with dignity can be a challenge, and even more so when children are involved. Keep the tips above in mind and it should be easier to reduce the emotional impact that a divorce has on the youngest members of the family.