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Tips to Protect Your Kids from Your Divorce

Going through a divorce brings about significant changes for spouses but also profoundly impacts any children involved. Their well-being hinges on parents managing the emotional and psychological fallout that these familial shifts can bring. Given their potential vulnerability, it’s crucial to put in place protective measures that shield your kids from the stressors of divorce, preserving their mental health both throughout this transitional period and beyond.

Understanding the Impact of Divorce on Children

Children may experience a complex array of emotions in response to their parents’ divorce, often including confusion, fear, sadness, and anger. These emotional responses typically stem from dramatic changes in family structure and routine, which can make children feel unsettled or insecure about their future. The impact of divorce on a child’s life cannot be underestimated.

Research suggests children from such households tend to have a higher likelihood of experiencing anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues.

Children of divorce are also at increased risk of mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression, interpersonal relationship difficulties, and unwanted health outcomes in adulthood. 

Adolescents with divorced parents are also more likely to engage in alcohol consumption as well.  

Adolescent children of divorced parents report more alcohol and other substance use than children of married parents/intact families.

This doesn’t mean that parents should stay together purely on account of the children, as exposure to continued conflict or unhappiness between parents has its own distinct, potentially harmful impact. 

What it means is that parents going through divorce must make a commitment to minimizing the negative impacts as much as possible for any children involved. Here’s how parents can do this:

Engaging in Open and Honest Communication

Communicating with your children honestly yet sensitively about the divorce helps them understand what’s happening and can be productive, as long as you do it in a way that is age-appropriate. Provide the basic facts, reassure them of both parents’ love, and be available to answer any questions they have.

Maintaining Routine and Stability

Establishing a consistent routine is key to providing a sense of normalcy for children who are dealing with the changes that come with divorce. Keeping established mealtimes, school schedules, extracurricular activities, and family traditions instills stability which can help children navigate this challenging time.

Shielding Children from Conflict

Shielding children from any contentious exchanges or legal battles between parents is essential; children should ideally be shielded completely from such conflicts. If kids become aware of this dynamic, it can cause immense stress and impact their emotional well-being. Make a concerted effort to resolve disputes out of earshot and away from children and always avoid putting them in the middle or making them feel as though they must choose one parent over another.

Co-Parenting with Respect and Cooperation

Preserving a collaborative co-parenting relationship ensures that children continue to benefit from both parents’ active involvement in their lives, which can help them better adapt to the circumstances. Our Denver family law attorney recommends prioritizing respectful communication and cooperation regarding parenting schedules, educational concerns, and extracurricular activities. Show your children that while their family may look different now, they still have two parents who love and care about them.

Seek Professional Support When Needed

During a divorce, you need to be open to the possibility that your children might require professional support. Child psychologists or counselors who specialize in familial transitions can provide outlets where kids feel safe expressing their emotions. These professionals can come up with ways to help your children understand and cope with the changes happening in their family dynamic.

Your children’s happiness and well-being are undoubtedly top priorities as you navigate your divorce. If you need help during any step of your divorce process, our Denver divorce attorneys are always here to help. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.