How to limit the negative effects of divorce on children

Just because you know divorce is the right thing to do for your family, you may still worry about the negative effects it will have on your children. Will it ruin their relationships with you? Will they act out at school from anger or depression?

While these are common side effects of divorce, they can be avoidable. Taking these steps can limit the negative impact of divorce on minors, helping your children to still grow up happy and emotionally healthy.

Consider alternatives to litigation

Arguing with your spouse in front of a judge is not the only way to get a divorce, nor is it usually the best way. An alternative is negotiation. It involves you both having your own attorneys who help you and your spouse work out the terms of your divorce in a civil manner. This collaborative approach reduces contention and trauma, meaning less harm to the kids. A similar option is mediation, which entails a third-party facilitator instead of lawyers.

Choose the right attorney

Although you want someone who is persistent and experienced, you do not want to choose an overly aggressive lawyer who will only aggravate the situation. Rather, look for someone who can watch out for your best interests in a cooperative manner to decrease the length of your divorce.

Communicate with your children

You only have so much control over your divorce because it relies on the willingness of your ex and the judgment of the court. However, one thing you can control is establishing open communication with your children.

Regardless of how you feel about your ex, do not trash him or her in your children’s presence or ask your kids for harmful information on the other parent. Instead, encourage your children to uninhibitedly share their thoughts, feelings, worries and frustrations. Listen attentively and respond compassionately. Consider involving them in individual or family counseling so you can all learn healthy ways to communicate with and support one another.

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