Divorce is naturally as devastating for children as it is for their parents. The manner in which the situation is handled by the parents will ultimately determine how the children adjust to the new family dynamics. More and more divorcing couples in Texas choose to have joint child custody, whereby parenting is shared equally between the parents. Telling the children about the changes may be less traumatic if parents tackle this difficult task together.
While each situation is unique, typical reactions include anger, sadness and fear for the future. Regardless, parents must encourage continued dialogue and allow children to discuss their fears and get answers to their questions. It is vital for children to be assured that they will not lose the love of either parent, even though they will be living separately. Specialists advise parents to start by reassuring children of what will not change before discussing what will change.
Parents may want to spare the children the details of the reasons for the divorce and avoid blaming each other. Negative comments about the other parent may give children the impression that they are expected to choose one parent over the other. It may be better to underscore the other parent’s positive attributes and encourage children to embrace the new dynamics, which might even lead to happier times together without parents fighting or bickering.
Fortunately, Texas parents do not have to go through these traumatic times alone. Their respective legal representatives will likely have access to professional mediators, who, in collaboration with the divorce attorneys, can guide parents through the drafting of parenting plans for shared child custody. Such professionals will ensure all issues are addressed in a manner that will suit both parents while keeping their focus on the best interests of the children.
Source: childcentereddivorce.com, “Explaining Shared Custody to Kids“, Kate Bayless, Accessed on July 16, 2015