Quite a few people mistakenly believe that the worst thing they could possibly do when they have children is decide to file for divorce. After all, there is little question that divorce tends to be a stressful and destabilizing process for children. However, psychological and social researchers have also found that parents in high-conflict marriages can easily cause as much stress, if not more, than divorce might produce. For families in some circumstances, divorce truly is the best option.
Particularly when parents agree to cooperate to minimize the negative impact on their children, divorce proceedings don’t necessarily have to cause irrevocable harm. These are a few ways that parents can take some of the stress out of the divorce process for their children.
Keep the conflict as low as possible
Often, it will be the disputes between the parents and the children’s feeling of being caught in the middle that makes divorce so difficult for them. If parents can cooperate, the divorce may not seem as emotionally draining for the children in the family. The less conflict they witness and the less pressure they feel to choose a side, the easier it may be to adapt to the new family circumstances.
Keep things consistent and predictable
Having one parent move out or both parents move to new homes can be very challenging for children to accept. The different rules at both homes and different schedules can also make them unsure of how to adjust to their new circumstances. If possible, having the children stay in the same home they have previously lived in as much as possible can help. So can keeping them in the same school district. Finally, if parents can agree on consistent rules and schedules to utilize at both houses, that will clear up for the children what the adults in the family expect from them.
Cultivate healthy coping mechanisms
From facilitating family conversations where everyone can talk openly to getting the kids into therapy, there are many ways for parents to help them manage the stress they will experience because of a divorce. Sports and creative pursuits are among some of the healthier options for allowing young adults to work through their feelings and rebuild their sense of self-confidence when their parents divorce. Individual or family counseling and even support groups can also be helpful for giving children the space to express their emotions and work through them.
Although divorce is inevitably be traumatizing, the right approach can significantly reduce the long-term damage it causes for the young members of a family. Working cooperatively to support the children is a very beneficial approach for those preparing for divorce.