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How to take care of children in marriage dissolution

Washington couples who are considering the dissolution of their marriages may feel overextended while working through this tough time in life. Children, however, often also feel overwhelmed as they find dissolution or divorce very confusing. Children in divorcing families need a little extra help with the process.

The following tips can help divorcing parents care for their children through the process:

  • Talk to children about divorce.
  • Explain that children are not at fault for the circumstances.
  • Be open in explaining to the children how often they will now see each parent.
  • Avoid negative-talk about the ex-spouse with children.
  • Develop a routine that can be followed regularly.
  • Provide structure, boundaries and a shared way of setting rules if co-parenting.
  • Encourage open dialogue with family members.
  • Avoid expressing anger around children.
  • Provide a time and place for therapeutic discussions for children as needed.

Developing a consistent and structured routine has proven to be very important for a child's growth. Particularly in cases of divorce, the changes that will have to occur must be balanced with a shared and compassionate approach to looking out for the children's best interests.

Establishing a residential schedule immediately upon separation is also very important. Regardless of the level of acrimony in a separation, early and consistent attention to children's' needs will help children navigate a difficult and confusing time.

An advocate experienced in family law can assist parents who are dissolving a marriage to help their children through the process.

Source: NewsOK, "Your life: Divorce requires special care for children," Charlotte Lankard, April 16, 2012

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