Divorce is hard on everyone involved, and it's important to do whatever you can to help your children through this difficult time.
Here are some steps you can take to help your kids understand what is happening and how to transition to a new family situation.
1. Break the news.
Children are very perceptive, and there's a good chance that they already know something is amiss between you and the other parent. Still, it can help them to hear the news from you. Talk to the other parent about breaking the news to the kids, and you can both explain to them that your marriage is ending. You can be honest with them, and that may help them avoid drawing false conclusions. Keep their ages in mind, though, as you don't want to disclose too many details that the children simply don't need to know about.
2. Let them know it's not their fault.
In many cases, kids come to believe that they somehow caused the divorce. Explain to them that that isn't the case, and that the divorce is only between you and the other parent. Tell them you both will always love them, and you both will always be their parents. Keep in mind, too, that insecurities can crop up again and again, so it's important to continue reassuring your kids now and in the future.
3. Avoid badmouthing the other parent in front of the children.
Saying negative things about the other parent can be extremely detrimental to children. They need to know that both of their parents are good people who love them. In fact, badmouthing the other parent is considered to be a form of parental alienation, which studies have shown can cause long-term psychological problems in kids.
Also, it's important to avoid using your children as messengers. Don't ask them to convey information or complaints to the other parent. Instead, keep the kids out of parental disputes, and communicate as best as you can with the other parent about parental expectations and responsibilities.
4. Don't be afraid to ask for help.
If you see that your child is having a difficult time coping with the divorce, remember that there are resources available to help the process go more smoothly. Consider seeking out a therapist, and don't hesitate to ask your attorney for guidance in these matters. Professional help during and even after the divorce can help children transition to the new family arrangement.
5. Talk to an experienced family law attorney about creating a workable and enforceable parenting plan.
A major aspect of divorce between parents is the establishment of a parenting plan that both parties can agree upon. In any case, the top priority when creating such a plan is to protect the kids' best interests. If you have questions or concerns about child custody arrangements in Alabama, talk to an experienced family lawyer about your goals and options.