CHILDREN AND DIVORCE
Telling your children about your divorce can be one of the hardest things you’ll ever do. And sadly, approximately 50% of families will have to face that task. I get irritated when I hear people say, “Oh, kids are so resilient–they will be fine after the divorce.”
Truth is, one of the ways adults develop resilience is by living through life experiences that train them on how to handle other adverse life experiences. Children have not had the life experiences that adults have had (or at least we hope they haven’t), and so they do not have a strong ability to bounce back and be resilient.
I remember to this day walking in on my grandparents’ discussion about getting a divorce–just my grandparents, not my parents, and I will tell you that that memory is still there after fifty years. So just imagine what it’s like for a child, without many life experiences, to have their imagination and their fear go wild at this announcement.
But parents, as I tell all my divorce clients, do not forget that you are a parent and a teacher in every aspect of your child’s life, and this is no different.
If it is true that 50% of all marriages will end in divorce, then demonstrate for your children HOW to divorce, if indeed that becomes the necessity for your family. Show them (which for children means teaching them) that the their parents will continue to put their interests first, finding a more peaceful process (out of court) for their divorce that will enable them to learn how to and continue co-parenting for the rest of their children’s lives.
Divorcing parents, show your children that conducting oneself with privacy, dignity and grace still has a place in this world, keeping your conflict and its resolution process private, out of the courtroom and off of the gossip grapevine. Show your children that you, their parents, can model this behavior for your friends and extended family, writing a letter together to all of them in which you say this is a private matter that you wish to be left private; tell them in that letter that you do not want them to pick sides and that you both want your children to have a continuing meaningful relationship with them after the divorce is over. Show your children that you will continue to put their interests first, finding a more efficient process for your divorce that will not force you to spend your children’s college fund on litigation.
How can you teach your children HOW to divorce?
By doing it a different way, and that way is a collaborative divorce. Talk to your spouse about the importance of this to your children, and see if this is not at least the one thing you can agree on, then find professionals who can help you accomplish that goal. Choose TRAINED Collaborative Divorce Lawyers and ask them to help you save your children from the multi-generational scars that divorce can cause. Ask your attorney about their collaborative training and how many cases they have successfully concluded; there are many collaboratively trained divorce lawyers who have had multiple training and extensive experience in helping families achieve these goals. Your family/your children deserve nothing less.
The following article presents other ways to protect your children from the conflict of divorce. I invite you to read it. The #1 Divorce Mistake if you have Kids. And here’s a podcast about Telling Your Children You’re Getting a Divorce presented by Raising Strong Kids Through Divorce.
Camille Milner is a divorce lawyer, who practices in Denton, Sanger, Highland Village, Flower Mound, Argyle, Frisco, Lewisville, and Carrollton. To schedule an appointment, call (940)383-2674.