Maryland parents contemplating divorce may be apprehensive about how a separation could impact their children. Though it does not do children any favors to stay in an unhappy relationship for their sake, divorce is obviously going to be difficult for them to handle. No matter what, minor children are going to have to adapt to a new living situation, and they make take a while to adjust. Be patient with your children as they go through this process and take steps to help them along the way.
Communicating with your child
It is never a good idea to say negative things about a child’s other parent to the child, nor is it a good idea to blame the other parent for a divorce. However, parents should be honest with their kids about why they are separating and reassure their children that the divorce is not their fault. If possible, parents should announce a divorce to their children together.
Coparenting after a separation
Parents should also attempt to coparent and make decisions about their children’s wellbeing together. Though parents may not see eye-to-eye, they should do their best to agree on some basic ground rules for their children that will be implemented at each parent’s home. If parents start trying to be the “cool” one and letting their kids do whatever they want, it will actually hurt the kids, since it takes away the structure they had when they were living under one roof. Agreeing to things like a standard bedtime on school nights or a limit on television time can help children feel more of a sense of normalcy when they go from one home to another.
Being emotionally available for your children
Always give your kids a safe space in which to express their emotions and talk to you. If your kids are on the younger side, you may want to encourage them to express themselves in non-verbal ways, such as drawing or painting. If your child wants to talk about the divorce or his feelings, let him; just remember to keep boundaries when it comes to “adult” topics, like child custody arrangements, which should stay between you, your ex, and your family law attorney.