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Making divorce work for your family

When a marriage ends, there is often a profound sense of loss felt by both partners. Emotions can be high and conflicted as couples face the prospect of legal and personal independence. And for Illinois families with children the transition may be especially difficult. Fortunately though, divorce can actually have a very positive impact on children and parents alike if steps are taken to reinforce family values and relationships. Here are a few concepts newly divorced parents should keep in mind to help them and their kids learn and grow from divorce.

Know yourself

Before parents can effectively educate their kids about divorce and help them cope with the process, they have to first understand it. Many people associate it with a sense of failure and/or shame, transferring those negative feelings onto their kids. By beginning to come to terms with this significant life change and defining what it will mean to them and their family, parents can build the foundation for a positive transition.

Know your kids

Just like adults, children have different temperaments and personalities. Similarly, kids of various ages process emotions, stress and change differently. Therefore, it can be helpful to gear conversations about divorce around your child’s age and level of understanding. And given that children typically learn by example and model behavior, it’s important to articulate emotions and concerns in a way that is both honest and appropriate.

Know the situation

Children and parents all benefit from consistency and reliability. From seemingly minor details like setting a play time schedule to establishing a consistent exchange location, making such arrangements can go a long way in eliminating stress and creating a new routine.

By taking a proactive and responsible approach to their divorce, families can use it as an opportunity to grow closer and stronger.

Source: Source: Huffington Post, “5 Tips for Co-Parenting After Divorce,” Allison Pescosolido, May 16, 2013

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