Divorce can be emotionally challenging when it involves just a couple — but when that couple has children, it can be even more emotionally taxing for every family member. With that in mind, Collaborative Law Institute of Texas President-Elect Camille Milner posted a recent, excellent article on her blog covering the 10 things to remember when divorcing with children.
One of the first rules she gives — echoed by a therapist writing for the Denton County Collaborative Professionals blog she links to — is that parents should tell their children about divorce together. Having everyone together underscores that both parents will continue to be there for their children regardless of how the family configuration changes, and it helps safeguard against one parent blaming the other for the divorce — something that parents should definitely avoid in this challenging time.
There are also several points Milner makes about letting kids be kids. They shouldn’t be burdened with adult responsibilities and worries no matter how overwhelmed the parents might feel, and as she notes, “if you enable them to also be kids, they will realize, as will you, that life goes on and that eventually, it will be ok again.”
If you’re divorcing collaboratively, having a mental health professional on your team can help both parents and children navigate the challenging emotional waters of a divorce — and, of course, the collaborative process can help you and your spouse arrive at a solution that will allow you both to move on and focus on co-parenting without the rancor of a court battle.