All divorcing parents should keep their own emotional health at the top of their list as that is the only way that they are going to be able to help their children cope. Getting into therapy or a support group at the outset of your divorce proceedings, or even before, is one way that you can ensure a more smooth transition for your children. Therapy can help parents with the emotions, anxiety and conflict that come with the divorce process. This also helps cut down on costs of an attorney as you are using your attorney to provide legal advice and not emotional support.
Children who experience their parents to be in high conflict will often have a much harder time adjusting to the new demands on their schedules and lives. No matter how well the parents are doing as co-parents, the children will feel a loss. The parents’ job is to provide emotional support and answer the questions that children often ask such as:
Where will I live?
Where will I go to school?
When will I see both of my parents?
Allowing children to talk through their feelings and express them with a parent, teacher, extended family member or therapist is the first step in their healing process. Children need to know that the divorce was not their fault and that both of their parents love them. If one parent talks negatively about the other, the children may feel torn between them and begin to act out those feelings. The children’s role in a divorce is not one of message carrier, confidante, money collector or schedule maker. Their role is to be children and be supported by both of their parents in a healthy way. Knowing when to seek professional services for your child is important if they seem to be exhibiting signs of distress or insecurity.