Divorcing couples must not only ready themselves for the struggles that lie ahead, but they also need to prepare their children for how to deal with an imminent dissolution. In order to do this, the focus needs to be on cooperation and co-parenting for the good of the children.
Children of divorcing parents are probably dealing with a variety of emotions as they figure out how things are changing. When approaching the subject of divorce with kids, especially younger ones, keep the language and topics simple. Focus on addressing how the divorce will change concrete things in their world. While a discussion with older children may go into more depth, all children need to know that both of their parents will still be there for them no matter how living arrangements change.
Have a Plan
Routines are very important for children, so any plans for new living arrangements should take into consideration how to maintain routines as much as possible. Refrain from discussing any moves or routine shifts with children until both parents have agreed to the details of how to orchestrate the changes. The development of a parenting plan is required in Missouri, so working with a legal or counseling resource to draft one early on in the process may be helpful for the entire family.
Work as a Team
While it may be difficult to set aside individual emotional issues to work with a future ex-spouse, it is important for parents to show their children a united front when it comes to caring for them. The discussion of divorce-related topics with children will go more smoothly when both parents are clear-headed and ready to support their children's psychological and emotional needs.
Identify Support Resources
Children may need additional support outside of their parents and family to help them cope with an imminent divorce. Seeking the help of a professional counselor early on in the divorce process is a proactive step that may help minimize the emotional impact of the dissolution on kids. Teachers and other school staff may also provide necessary support resources for your children.
In the end, if both spouses commit to working for the best interests of their children throughout the divorce process, it is likely the end result will be a healthy outcome for all family members. An experienced family law attorney can provide further information about issues like parenting plans, custody and child support.