How to shield your children from the impact of divorce

On Behalf of | May 24, 2024 | Child Custody |

Divorce is tough on everyone involved in the process, but it can be especially hard on children whose sense of normalcy has been upended and thrown into chaos by their parents’ marriage dissolution. These kids can suffer extensive harm if the divorce isn’t carefully handled, exhibited by the sudden onset of behavioral issues, poor school performance, social isolation, anxiety, combativeness, and general malaise.

The mental impact caused by divorce has the potential to lead to long-term effects, too, which is why it’s crucial that you find ways to protect your children throughout the divorce process.

How can you protect your children throughout divorce?

Although it may not seem like it at first glance, there’s a lot that you can do to shield your children from the negative ramifications of divorce. Here are some of the steps that you can take:

  • Encourage a relationship with the other parent: Divorce can leave your children feeling like they’ve lost a family member. As a result, it’s natural for them to grieve. But you can ease their pain by encouraging and facilitating a relationship with the other parent so long as doing so is safe. Try to find a resolution that keeps that possibility open so that your children can benefit from having two active parents in their life.
  • Keep your children out of your conflict: A lot of divorces are riddled with conflict. Putting your children in the middle of that can create emotional upheaval and mental harm. So, don’t engage in arguments with the other parent when your children are present, and don’t use your children as messengers. Also, refrain from talking poorly about the other parent around your children, as doing so will negatively impact their perceptions, and as they grow older, they might end up resenting you for doing so.
  • Build a consistent routine: Divorce, if not carefully handled, can implode life as your children know it. This can be nerve-wracking to them, which oftentimes results in problematic responses. You might be able to curtail this impact, though, by working with the other parent to maintain existing routines as much as possible as well as develop new ones to which your children can quickly acclimate. Consistency is key, so try to coordinate with the other parent to ensure that you’re treating discipline, bedtime and house rules similarly.
  • Listen to your children: Regardless of the emotions your children display, encourage them to talk to you and truly listen to what they have to say. This will create a safe space for your children where they feel like they’re heard. These conversations will also lead to familial decisions that are in your children’s best interests, thereby giving them a greater sense of control over and stability in their lives.
  • Focus on co-parenting: Although you’re getting divorced, you and your spouse will continue to be a part of your children’s lives. The more effectively you can do that without tension and conflict, the better off your children will be. So, think through where you and your spouse might disagree on parenting issues and diligently try to work them out for your children’s benefit.

All of that said, you have to advocate for a divorce outcome that’s right for you and a custody agreement that supports your children’s best interests, whether that means fighting for sole physical custody in court or trying to negotiate a joint custody agreement through negotiations.

What’s key is thinking through what’s best for your children and then gathering evidence to support your request. If you want to learn more about how to do that, then please continue to read our blog and educate yourself on how New Jersey courts handle child custody disputes.