Article: How to help children during a divorce

Colorado parents getting divorced can help their kids through the process with the right conversations.

When parents get divorced, the impact is felt by all members of the family including the children. This leaves Colorado mothers and fathers to help their kids cope with a divorce as they themselves process the experience. How to best handle this is different depending upon the personality of each child as well as the age of each child, as noted by Today's Parent. Understanding how to adapt to this and what kids at different ages need is important for divorcing moms and dads.

Delivering the initial message

When the time comes to first let children know about a divorce, Psychology Today recommends that a family meeting is best. This is so even when there is a wide range of ages and emotional understanding about the situation.

The reason for this is that individual conversations with kids about divorce can never happen simultaneously. This, in turn, leaves those children told first in a place of keeping a secret from their siblings until the subsequent conversations have taken place. This approach also opens the possibility that children told last will feel lesser compared to the children that were told first. Setting up that type of inequality between siblings is not recommended.

During the family meeting, parents should avoid blaming each other for the divorce, even if children directly ask a question that could lead to this. Some issues or questions will arise that should be tabled for later one-on-one discussions with children and parents can indicate that at the time.

Subsequent individual conversations

In navigating the days, weeks and months after a first family meeting, parents can adapt to each child's needs individually. The younger the child, the more attention should be given on basic needs and routines such as who will take a child to school, which house the child will be at overnight and what they will have for dinner. As children get older, conversations will be more complex and sometimes harder to initiate. Despite a middle schooler's appearing reluctance to talk, however, parent should do what is necessary to let the child know that the parent is always available.

Keep the lines of communication open

Certainly a priority for children is that they will retain relationships with both parents. For this reason, the Huffington Post notes that keeping communication lines as open as possible with both parents is critical. Instead of outlining strict rules for when one parent can contact the children when at the other parent's home, free access can help maintain the appropriate bonds. This lets kids feel secure in their relationships with both mom and dad. It also helps to prevent kids from siding more with one parent and pulling away from the other, which is not in their best interest.

Ask the experts

Getting professional advice may be helpful for parents. Similarly, working with an attorney from the beginning of a divorce process is always best. Doing this can help to make sure all necessary items are appropriately addressed.