Children and divorce in Texas: Helping the kids adjust

Experiencing the divorce of their parents may be a struggle for kids, but there are things people can do to help them deal with and adjust to the changes.

The Texas Department of Safety and Homeland Security reports that there were 80,030 divorces across the state in 2012. The end of a marriage may be upsetting enough for the adults who are involved. However, this type of major life change may be even more distressing for children. While there is no way to entirely eliminate the disruption that their divorce will cause their kids, there are things that parents can do to help them adjust and to minimize that disruption.

Offer reassurances

It is common for the divorce of their parents to make children feel vulnerable and afraid, even if they do not realize it. Throughout the divorce and during the adjustment period in particular, people should reassure their children that the children are not to blame for the split and that the divorce will not affect their individual relationships with their parents. In addition to explaining how the visitation arrangement will work, Psychology Today magazine recommends that parents post a calendar with the visitation schedule. Being able to visualize when they will see each parent may offer encouragement and help them understand that they are not losing a parent because of the divorce.

Continue parenting as normal

Thinking they are making things easier on their children during a difficult time, some parents may relax the rules during or after their divorce. However, because even if unknowingly, children seek stability, this relaxation of boundaries may not actually benefit them. Continuing to parent as before may help children maintain a sense of normalcy.

Keep the lines of communication open

As kids work through their feelings about their parents' divorce, they may have questions and concerns. Discussing these issues with them, while it may be difficult for parents, may help set children's minds at ease and offer them some comfort. Additionally, talking about what is going on and how they are feeling may help parents to identify if their children are having problems adjusting that may require professional assistance.

Avoid other major changes

For children of all ages, the divorce of their parents may seem to turn their lives upside down. Having friends, family, and their community around them may provide them the support they need as they navigate moving forward in their new familial landscapes. Limiting the other changes while they are adjusting to the divorce may help parents to ease their kids' anxieties and adjustment.

Working with an attorney

Even if the matters are uncontested, there are a number of issues that must be settled during Texas divorces. The longer and more contentious the process is, the more difficult it may be for those involved to deal with and move forward. Therefore, it may help parents who are considering a divorce to consult with a lawyer. An experienced Board-Certified family law attorney may negotiate on their behalf, which may help limit the conflict and allow them to maintain an amicable relationship.