Did you know Tennessee has a divorce rate of approximately 90 percent? In fact, data suggests there are some state regions where the divorce rate exceeds the marriage rate. This lets you know you are definitely not the first parent to be concerned about how your divorce is affecting your children. Like most parents, you only want what's best for them, right? It's true that divorce is not easy and takes a toll on every member of the family in different ways.
Many parents who have gone through similar situations in the past have said that one of the most important things you can do to help your children adjust is to let them know, unequivocally, that the divorce was not their fault in any way. Child psychologists, faith leaders and other leading child experts say this is often a key factor to alleviate children's fears and reassure them during difficult times.
Your children will undoubtedly be facing many changes because of your divorce. Perhaps you will be moving to a different house, which might also mean they have to attend a new school. Not seeing both you and their other parent every day is a significant adjustment on its own, not to mention getting used to spending holidays at different houses and all the other experiences that will be new and might feel strange at first. The following tips have helped others in the past and may be useful in your present situation:
- Avoid bad-mouthing: The less children hear one parent saying negative things about their other, the better.
- Acknowledge emotions: Just as you likely had periods of sadness, loneliness, or even frustration and anger, so too will your children's emotions fluctuate as they adjust to new lifestyles. If they know you are not going to judge them harshly or become angry, they might feel more comfortable sharing their thoughts, which will help build a smoother transition.
- Try to be patient: It's not uncommon for children to regress or misbehave a little more than usual when their parents are going through divorce. Spending lots of time together and developing new customs and routines helps keep things on a more even keel.
Children are, by nature, very resilient. If your kids know they can share their thoughts with you and that you and their other parent will always be there for them, their chances for moving toward a successful, happy future are high. This is not to say there won't be problems along the way. For instance, if your former spouse refuses to cooperate or is not adhering to existing child custody orders, etc. it can have a tremendously negative effect on your children.
In such circumstances, you can take steps to protect your rights and seek amicable solutions to any problems that arise. An experienced family law attorney may be a great asset, acting on your behalf to keep your children's best interests at heart.