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Ways to manage your child's experience of divorce

If you are unhappy in your marriage, it's likely that you have contemplated divorce on one or more occasions. Divorce has both pros and cons, with one of the cons being the negative effect that it could have on your children. For many parents, concerns about their children's development and future are key barriers that prevent them from filing for divorce.

However, divorce does not necessarily have a negative impact on a child when compared to living in a home with two unhappy parents. Not only should you consider the impact that divorce may have, but consider the impact that staying together will have.

Children are negatively impacted by arguments between their parents, and they also can see and feel the resentment, lack of respect and awkward silences between their parents. Therefore, if you believe you will be happier after divorce, there is a good chance your children will be happier, too. The following are ways to help you manage your child's experience of divorce.

Make time for them

If you have multiple children of different ages, it goes without saying they will each have different reactions to divorce, as well as different needs. Sitting them all down together to explain what is happening may not be appropriate. Consider speaking with a professional about the talk you will have with each of your children. Then talk with them individually and explain the situation in an age-appropriate way. It is important that you schedule one-on-one time with each child to allow you the opportunity to address their individual concerns.

Individualize their needs

Some children need reassurance, attention and love than others when they learn their parents are going through a divorce. One child may simply need his or her routine to remain as close to the same as possible, while another will need questions answered and reassurance about what will happen to them. It is important to figure out what each child needs and how those needs can best be met.

If you believe you'll be a better role model and parent when you are no longer married, then, perhaps, it is time to think about preparations for divorce. It's always a good idea to meet with an attorney, learn about the process and plan ahead. You should be as prepared as possible to make the decisions that are best for you and your children.

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