There’s no way to predict how your children will respond when you inform them that you and your spouse have decided to go separate ways in life. Even when children suspect that their parents are having marital problems, learning that you have made a formal decision can come as a shock. Filing for divorce in a California court doesn’t have to ruin your children’s lives, however, especially if you know how to help them develop coping skills.
With the help of the court, you and your ex can achieve a fair settlement that enables your children to continue to thrive. If a particular child seems to be having difficulty coming to terms with your divorce, it may be helpful to obtain additional support from external resources. As you strive to minimize disruption in your children’s daily lives, it’s also a good idea to have contact information on hand for a legal advocate, in case issues arise regarding child custody or other important matters.
Model healthy coping skills for your children in a divorce
Regardless of their ages, your children will no doubt observe your actions as you navigate divorce as a base from which to develop their own coping skills. If you are calm and demonstrate a willingness to cooperate and engage in amicable discussions with your ex, your children will likely try to follow your example as they process their own emotions. On the contrary, if they have constant exposure to parental conflict, they are likely to experience stress and anxiety, which makes it more difficult to adapt to a new lifestyle.
Agree to avoid negativity toward your ex and vice versa
Parents who no longer wish to be married to each other can still work together peacefully to resolve child custody issues during and following a divorce. Your children may have an easier time coping if you and your ex do not speak negatively about each other within their hearing. Children love both of their parents, and hearing one badmouth the other can cause confusion and distress in their young minds.
Welcome outside support as needed
Sometimes, children fare better in a divorce when they have other trusted adults besides their parents to help them cope. Their support system might include grandparents, aunts, uncles, teachers, professional counselors or others who are willing to provide practical help and emotional support as your family adjusts to changes in life. If legal complications arise, it’s best to try to address them in a swift and fair manner, which shows kids that people can resolve problems without confrontation.