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How to Help Your Children Through Divorce

Posted on in Divorce

Arlington Heights divorce lawyer

While divorce is difficult on the adults involved, it can be especially traumatic for the children a divorcing couple shares. How you handle the divorce can have a lasting impact on your children’s lives.  

One of the biggest concerns parents have when getting a divorce is when they will see their children. In Illinois, there is no longer “custody.” Parental responsibilities are determined and parenting time is decided and maintained through a parenting plan. A parenting plan determines which parent the child spends time with and when. Other details such as school pickups, holidays, and extracurricular activities will also be covered in your parenting plan. 

Different ages of school-aged children require different types of care when going through a divorce. If you and your spouse have a large family, there may be separate sets of discussions depending on the age gaps and maturity of your children. Here are some helpful tips for how to address this:

3 to 6 Years Old

The concept of divorce is difficult for preschool and early elementary school children to comprehend. What they know is mom and dad are a pair, and it is likely they would prefer to keep it that way. A child this age may feel like a divorce is their fault, so it is important to make them feel loved and reassured. Be open about what is happening at an age-appropriate level. Picture books about divorce may help you explain what is happening in terms they will understand. 

6 to 11 Years Old

Elementary to middle school-aged children may be able to understand what a divorce is but still may take it personally. Instead of just sadness, a child this age may show anger or pick sides. A divorce can affect a child’s confidence, self-esteem, and sleep schedule. Make sure your child knows that neither you nor your spouse is abandoning them. Let them come to you with how they feel and talk through their emotions. 

11 to 18 Years Old

As your child slowly turns into an adult during the adolescent and teenage years, they will look at you to set examples. Be honest with your children, but also be appropriate with how much information you share about the divorce. Your teenage child may feel like your best friend, but disparaging their other parent will do more harm than good. The older your child is, the more they will have an opinion about the divorce. Be mindful of any changes in behavior during this time, a teenager may be struggling in secret.

Contact a Palatine Divorce Lawyer Today

Divorce is hard on any couple, but when children are involved, it becomes more complicated. Contact an experienced Barrington divorce lawyer with Anderson & Associates, P.C. who can help you plan for the next chapter in your lives. Call our office at 847-995-9999 to set up a free consultation today.

Sources:

https://www.parents.com/parenting/divorce/coping/age-by-age-guide-to-what-children-understand-about-divorce/

https://www.outbacktreatment.com/effects-divorce-teen/

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