Divorce in Georgia: Helping children adjust to the changes

Experiencing the divorce of their parents may be upsetting for many children, but there are things their parents can do to help them cope with the changes.

According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, one in two married couples in the U.S. get divorced. When couples share children, the end of a marriage may be even more challenging. Since children often do not understand what is happening or why, they may struggle to cope with this type of major life change. While Georgia parents cannot totally eliminate the stress their divorce may cause their children, there are some things they can do to help them adjust.

Sit down with the kids together

Children may misinterpret their parents' divorce if they are not told how the split will affect them, and how they are and are not involved. When sitting down to break the news, it is recommended that parents set their differences aside and talk to their children together. This may them reassure their kids that they both sill care about them and will continue to be there for them. Reassurances such as this may be helpful in ensuring children feel loved and supported as their parents go through a divorce.

Avoid dividing the children

Sometimes, there is a significant age difference between the children in a family. In an effort to protect their younger children, parents may try to hide what is going on from them and instead only tell their older kids. This is not necessarily the best approach, however. Rather, people are advised to sit down with all of their children together to avoid sending the wrong message to their younger children or unnecessarily burdening their older kids. After the initial discussion, parents may go back and discuss the divorce more in depth with their children individually.

Keep the children out of the fight

Scientific American reports that research has regularly shown that children may not adjust as well if they are exposed to frequent conflict between their parents during and after their divorce. Therefore, it is suggested that people refrain from fighting in front of their kids. Instead, they are encouraged to discuss contentious topics over the phone or when their children are not around. Additionally, people should avoid talking negatively about their ex too or in front of their children. They should also encourage their kids to maintain a parent-child relationship with their other parents.

Continue parenting as normal

When they are divorcing, some people may change their parenting styles or their rules to go easier on their children. However, this may actually make it harder for their kids to adjust. This is because children often crave security, even if they do not know it. Thus, keeping things as close to normal as possible may help provide kids with the stability they need to process and adjust to a divorce.

Prepare for questions

After telling their kids about their plans, parents should prepare to answer questions, even if they are difficult or upsetting. People should give their children as much information as possible while keeping the conversation age appropriate. When discussing a divorce with their kids, it is advisable for parents to avoid assigning blame to one parent or the other.

Seeking legal counsel

When Georgia couples divorce, the changes may be most upsetting for their children. The longer such matters are drawn out, the more challenging it may be for people and their families to deal with the changes and move on with their lives. Therefore, those who are considering a divorce may find it of benefit to work with an attorney. A legal representative may look out for their interests and guide them through the legal process.