It’s understandable that you want to have active, healthy relationships with your children. Each one is unique and, like most Maryland parents can attest, you’ve likely already encountered challenges in your parenting journey. Family life is definitely something that can be joyful one day and a tremendous struggle the next, depending on the ages of your children and other issues, such as what happens to be going on in your marriage. If you have decided to file for divorce, you might be a bit anxious about telling your kids.
The good news is that children are generally resilient and adaptable by nature. Divorce certainly disrupts and changes their lives; however, it doesn’t necessarily have to ruin them. By knowing what to say or not say and by building a strong support network from the start, you and your children can work together to come to terms with your current situation and transition into a new lifestyle.
Be willing to work as a team
Divorce is primarily an adult issue although it definitely affects children’s lives. The more willing to compromise and cooperate you and your spouse are, the likelier the kids will be able to cope in a healthy manner. If they witness their parents acting like enemies or one of you speaks negatively about the other, your children might feel confused and upset.
It’s always best if both parents are willing to sit down with their children as a family to let them know about impending changes they will go through when you and your spouse no longer live together under the same roof. When kids know that they can stay closely connected to both parents and that parents are willing to work as a team for their sake, chances are greater that they will fare well.
Children don’t need all the details
There doesn’t have to be a bad guy when you inform your children that you are getting divorced. In fact, you do not have to share all the details of your private life with your kids. All they really need to know are the basic facts: that you are severing your marital ties, as well as how that will affect the logistics of their daily life.
You’ll want to refrain from telling your children about an extra marital affair, financial arguments or any number of other personal issues that may have led to your decision to divorce. Children tend to internalize their parents’ problems and may wind up feeling they’re to blame if you give them more information than they can handle.
Connect with others who can help
By knowing what local resources you have available, you can tap into support networks for your children as needed. For instance, their school might have a guidance counselor who understands how situations like this can have an impact on children’s academic lives. A licensed family counselor is also a great asset.
Your community might have support groups where parents and kids gather to talk about how they feel so group members can encourage and assist one another as everyone adapts to new lifestyles. If legal problems arise, it’s helpful to speak with someone well-versed in Maryland child custody, child support or property division laws, whatever the issue might be.