When you filed the papers to end your marriage in a California court, you knew your decision was affecting children’s lives as well as your own. Hopefully, through thoughtful discussions and by keeping lines of communication open, you’ll be able to help them over any bumps that arise on their pathways toward a new family lifestyle. There are certain issues that seem to be most prevalent among children of divorced parents. Knowing what these are ahead of time may help you to better help them.
No two children are going to handle a divorce exactly the same. Some may appear aloof and unemotional while others experience angry outbursts or tearful displays of emotion from time to time. Each of your children, in fact, may navigate your divorce in his or her own way; by letting your kids know you love them and are there to support them, you set the tone for success.
Key issues that can help strengthen your parenting plan
Like most parents who divorce in California or elsewhere in the nation, you want what is best for your kids. Problems often surface in divorce when parents disagree regarding the interpretation of children’s best interests in particular circumstances. The following list includes important factors to bear in mind as you make plans for your children’s futures following your divorce:
- Your children love both parents: It’s typically best if parents remember that they are the ones getting divorced, not their children. Your kids love you, but they also love their other parent. Accepting that fact may place you one step ahead of the game when it comes to forging a strong bond with your kids as you move forward in life after divorce.
- It is natural to identify with one parent: A male child tends to bond a little more closely with his father in divorce. Female children are likely to identify with their mothers. Not only is this natural, but keeping it in mind can help you better understand what your kids are going through.
- Children may mimic destructive behaviors: As they identify with one or both parents, children may explore behaviors they witness in their parents even if such actions are not conducive to a healthy lifestyle. For instance, if kids witness a parent spending a lot of time drinking alcohol or engaging in extra marital relationships (leading up to and perhaps causing divorce), they may gravitate toward similar behaviors as they get older.
- Where there’s a gap, a child may try to fill it: If you have a teenage son or daughter, you may notice he or she trying to fill the space of your former spouse. Such attempts will materialize in ways, such as trying to discipline younger brothers or sisters or trying to spend extra time with you so you are not lonely.
Your children will be paying close attention to how you approach various issues of your divorce. The court believes most children fare best if they continue to spend ample time with both parents after divorce. It’s also crucial that your children understand they did not cause your marriage to end.
Extra support for especially challenging problems
Any number of the issues mentioned earlier can have ripple effects on your overall divorce situation, perhaps leading to parenting disputes or legal problems associated with an existing court order. It helps to know ahead of time where to seek assistance if a particular problem impedes your relationship with your kids.
Many California parents turn to experienced family law attorneys for guidance when it comes to parenting-related issues in divorce.