Many people refer to January as divorce month. It’s a fact that an increase in inquiries and petitions typically occurs during the first weeks of a new year. Perhaps, you’re one of many parents in Virginia who want to head into the new year by starting a new lifestyle, one that does not include your current spouse. While filing for divorce is definitely an adult issue, as a parent, you no doubt understand that your decision will have a significant impact on your children’s lives.
There are resources available to assist your family as you help your children cope with divorce. By providing encouragement and support to your kids, you can help maximize their coping skills and keep stress levels to a minimum. The more you and your ex work together as a team, the more likely your kids will successfully adapt to a new lifestyle. This is one of many reasons it’s important to know how to resolve legal issues if a problem arises between you and your co-parent.
Be especially present to your kids in the first year
Divorce can spark unexpected emotions in children and adults. The first year is often the toughest for all involved. Your children might struggle emotionally when it comes time to celebrate birthdays or holidays or when they want to invite you and your co-parent to a school event but aren’t sure if you’ll both come. Telling your kids often that they can share their concerns and feelings with you without worrying that you’ll get upset helps them move on in life in a healthy manner.
There is no right or wrong emotion
Letting your children know that you do not expect them to feel or react a specific way allows them time and opportunity to process their emotions. They might feel sad, angry or scared and, sometimes, might experience several emotions in one day. If they know they can share their thoughts with you, they may be better able to come to terms with the changes your divorce has prompted in their lives.
Avoid parental conflict
It is not uncommon for parents to disagree about child-related issues after divorce. The key factor here is not that a legal issue might arise between you and your ex but how you react and choose to resolve it. If your children witness a lot of arguing between you and your co-parent, they are bound to feel stressed. If one parent is always speaking negatively about the other, your kids may feel upset and confused about where their loyalties should lie.
Family support is a valuable coping tool
You hopefully have close friends or family members in Virginia or nearby who are willing to step in and provide support, especially if your children are having trouble coping with your divorce. Some issues, such as those having to do with disagreements about child custody or child support or disobedience to a court order, are often easier to resolve if you seek additional support from someone who can advocate on your behalf to protect your rights and your children’s best interests.