Divorce can be a difficult experience for everyone involved – especially children. Children of separating parents typically experience difficulty coping with the tumultuous change and will react differently depending on their age, personality, and the unique circumstances surrounding the divorce. It is not uncommon for children of divorce to feel lost and confused, with many feeling as if they are the cause of their parents’ separation.
While most parents in Ohio courts strive to make decisions with the best interest of their children in mind, others may become so consumed with getting back at their soon-to-be ex-spouse that they forget how their actions affect their children, even going so far as using their children as bargaining chips to gain the upper hand in divorce proceedings. Fortunately, there are several things that divorcing parents can do to make the process easier for them and ensure their wellbeing is protected.
- Break the news gently: Once you have made the decision to separate, sit your children down and have a heart-to-heart conversation about what is happening and how it will affect them. If you can, make sure both parents are present and leave out all feelings of anger and guilt. Reassure them that your love for them has not changed and that your separation is not their fault.
- Do not badmouth the other parent: It is important to remember that your ex is still your child’s parent, and that there is still likely a strong relationship between them. Respect this relationship and refrain from verbally bashing the other parent in front of them. Likewise, keep all emotionally-charged conversations behind closed doors and shield them from visible conflict.
- Listen to their feelings: Validating your child’s feelings can be greatly beneficial towards the healing process, even if you do not agree with what they have to say. If they do not feel comfortable talking just yet, let them know you are available whenever they are ready.
- Talk with your spouse: As difficult as it may be, make an effort to talk with your spouse and discuss what is best for your children. Put their needs first when considering custody and visitation arrangements and make an effort to negotiate an agreement that fosters a healthy relationship with both parents.
- Consider counseling: Nobody should have to go through a divorce without any support, especially children. Provide your children with the opportunity to speak with a counselor, therapist, or religious leader and express their emotions in a healthy, productive manner.
If you are facing a divorce in Ohio, contact our compassionate Dayton divorce attorneys at Gounaris Abboud, LPA. Our team will work with you to ensure your divorce is completed as smoothly as possible and that your children’s best interests are kept in mind every step of the way. To find out what our 30+ years of combined family law experience can do for you, call (937) 660-8429 or schedule a confidential case review online today.