The day you made the final decision to file for divorce in an Arizona court, you might have had mixed feelings. Especially if you’ve been married for 10 years or more, you might have felt a sense of mourning or sorrow for the relationship you were now choosing to leave behind. However, thinking of moving on in life might have also given you a sense of hope, although you likely worried about how your decision would affect your children.
Telling your kids that you are getting divorced is definitely a sensitive topic. Depending on their ages and personalities, each child may have a different reaction. If you and your spouse are able to sit down together with your kids as a family, it might make it a bit easier for them to receive the news. It pays to start building a strong support network as soon as you make plans to file a petition.
No need to have a bad guy
Even if there are specific issues that led to the breakdown in your marriage, your kids do not necessarily need to know that. For instance, if your spouse cheated on you, it’s typically best to keep adult issues like that between adults. When you tell your children you’re filing for divorce, all they really need is basic information regarding upcoming changes in their lives.
Emotionally, kids may not be able to handle adult burdens. They love both of their parents, so seeing one or the other as a bad guy can cause them great stress. This is why it’s important for you and your spouse to be willing to work as a team and to avoid making negative comments about each other in the children’s presence.
Choose your timing carefully
The evening before your child has a big math test at school, or on a holiday or other special occasion day, is likely not the best time to tell him or her that you and your spouse are severing your marital ties. You’ll want to arrange a time when you can make yourself fully available to gently deliver the news. It’s also important to make yourself available to answer any questions your kids might have.
Monitor your children’s health and behavior
Even if it seems that your children take the news of your divorce quite well, it is a good idea to keep a close eye on them in the weeks and months that follow. Sometimes, a particular child might show signs of regression. Another child might become rebellious or reclusive. Kids need permission and space to navigate their own emotions.
However, if you believe that a child is showing adverse health signs, having trouble in school or simply not adapting to your new lifestyle as well as you’d hoped, it might be time to reach out for added support.
Who can help?
By tapping into the support resources you set up from the start, you can address each child’s needs as they arise. Perhaps, a teacher, counselor, minister or relative can encourage your son or daughter and provide a shoulder on which to lean.
Many Arizona parents also stay closely connected to family law advocates because legal complications related to a divorce can definitely have a negative impact on children’s ability to cope. The more swiftly and amicably you can settle legal problems, the better for everyone involved.