Divorce Can Be Especially Difficult for Children, but Attorneys at Rice, Amundsen, and Caperton in Memphis, Tennessee Are Ready to Help. By: Tracy Cermak

Divorce can be especially difficult for children, but attorneys at Rice, Amundsen, and Caperton in Memphis, Tennessee are ready to help. Below are a few tips to keep in mind if you have children and are going through a divorce:

  • Children may blame themselves. In fact, the majority do. It is imperative for parents to talk to their children and stress that it is not their fault..
  • Children may have to cope with a change of schedule. Routine is comforting to all of us, but even more so with children. With a divorce, there may be different bedtimes, different meal times, or changes in schedule due to babysitters and childcare. As much as possible, keep your child’s schedule the same. Keep consistent schedules between both parent’s homes during visitation, and this will give your child a sense of security.
  • Children may seem fine on the surface, but there may be hidden signs of adjustment difficulties. A drop in grades for a child who has previously done well in school, less interest in activities, and playing less with friends may all signal an emotional concern that needs to be addressed. Changes in appetite or sleep patterns may also signal emotional distress. A previously respectful child may begin to act out at home or at school. Be alert to changes your child may not be able to express in words. Talk with your child’s school. The teacher and guidance counselor may be able to help. Many times there are groups your child can join for kids going through the stresses of divorce.
  • Children need to be shielded as much as possible from the drama divorce can cause. There are things you shouldn’t do in front of your children that will lessen their fear and insecurity. Don’t argue in front of your child, or tell them about your problems. Avoid putting the other parent down to your child. They love both parents and should not have to choose sides with their loyalty.
  • As much as possible, keep your child’s room the same, even if divorce has brought a move to a new home. Keeping the same surroundings brings comfort to all of us, as adults find when they bring along familiar things when they travel. Don’t let divisions of property include the children’s furniture and belongings.
  • If the family owns a pet, it should remain in the home with the child if possible. Children need the attention that a pet gives to them as much as adults do. Losing a pet at the same time they are losing time with one of the parents can cause additional stress to an already stressed child.
  • Work Together to Decide How to Tell Your Kids About the Divorce. As divorcing parents, you need to be on the same page about what you plan to tell your children. As hard as it might be right now to imagine having this conversation together, it’s imperative that you decide exactly what details to share before you sit down and tell the kids.
  • Anticipate the Questions Your Kids Will Ask Being able to provide concrete information will ease your kids’ anxieties and help them to begin to envision what your lives will be like once the divorce is finalized.
  • Learn About the Effects of Divorce on Children Divorce impacts children differently according to their ages and their understanding of what is happening. Make sure that you’re prepared in advance by learning about the effects of divorce on children at every stage, from infancy through the teenage years. Visit your local library or check online for valuable resources.
  • Take time to Have Fun with Your Children. Yes, you are in the middle of a divorce and that can be an extremely stressful time, but it is not the end of the world and spending positive, quality time with your children will work wonders for both their situation and your attitude.

By: Tracy Cermak

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