How parents can assist children in adjusting to divorce
Florida parents whose marriages are coming to an end can take a number of steps that will help their children adjust to the situation. They can start by talking honestly with their children when they know the divorce is imminent. Children notice changes such as parents sleeping in separate rooms. They should be reassured that the divorce has nothing to do with them and encouraged to ask questions and talk about what is going on. Children may need time to grieve, and how they process this grief may vary from child to child. If necessary, parents should not hesitate to contact a therapist to work with the children.
A parent should avoid badmouthing the other parent in front of the child. A parent should also avoid using the children as messengers or to manipulate the other parent. The focus should consistently be on stability and avoiding conflict.
Flexibility is important, and this means that parents may need to smooth over difficulties sometimes to avoid conflict. Parents may miss pickups, drop offs or appointments, but this is not the time to fight over small disagreements. Parents should also be certain that they take care of themselves. They cannot effectively help their children through the difficulties of divorce if they do not take steps toward self-care.
Making decisions about child custody may be difficult even when parents are on reasonably good terms. They might be able to work out a solution with a mediator if they are unable to come to an agreement on their own. Mediation takes a cooperative approach, and this differs from the adversarial approach of a courtroom. However, in some cases, parents may have no choice but to go to court. If the other parent does not cooperate, is abusive or has issues with substance abuse, litigation may be the right choice.