Parenting through divorce: How can I protect my kids?

Divorce with children

Going through divorce is one of the most difficult experiences you will ever have to manage and, although as adults we are usually able to rationalise our feelings, are we truly aware of how it is affecting our kids?

Even when separation is the best option for you and your family, it doesn’t necessarily make the process any easier to deal with, or your decisions any easier to make.

Although, your children will not understand how you feel, it is really important that you try to understand how what you do makes them feel. Keeping the emotional welfare of your children at the forefront of your mind, particularly during the legal process, can often help you make better decisions for yourself as well as for them.

Children can often feel betrayed by their parents’ divorce, their family unit – no matter how dysfunctional – was their home and their fundamental understanding of life, love and security through their family relationships – it’s all they know.

So much change is difficult for anyone to adjust to. Children can feel like their life has been turned upside down, and these feelings are often exacerbated by the physical changes that occur as a result of divorce.

Many children have to move homes and change schools, as well as adjust to a lifestyle that caters for a lower, single-parent income. Taking all this into consideration, you, as a parent, must be prepared for how they might act out, either at home or at school, and maintain communication and comfort as best you can. Some may not show their turmoil on the outside, but may be deeply suffering with it on the inside.

In cases where families have experienced issues with domestic violence, it is not always easy for a child to accept that it is better for their parents to live apart, even when they themselves have been hurt or are potentially in danger.

Conflict is damaging, and your children are witnessing conflict between the two people they love the most.

As a parent going through divorce, it is important that you acknowledge how much more complex your child’s emotions can be towards your situation than you might think. Try not to assume that you know how they feel or that they agree with the decisions you make, even when you know that what you are doing is best for them.

Discussing your decisions with your children in an age-appropriate manner can help reassure them that they are loved and cared for by both parents, even now you have chosen to live apart.

Just making them feel safe, loved and considered can help alleviate the heartache that inevitably follows a family breakdown.

How we can help

At the Worcester Family Law Practice, we will encourage you to put your children at the centre of your decision-making and provide you with advice and guidance to assist you in this difficult time.

As members of Resolution, we believe that Collaborative Law is the best solution. Seeking a more amicable outcome through a less confrontational, and more personal, approach to resolving family conflict.

Contact the Worcester Family Law Practice to discuss the multiple benefits of Collaborative Law with our collaboratively trained and certified solicitors and visit the Resolution website for further reading about how to keep your children’s best interest at heart.