Whether you are contemplating divorce or are in the midst, if you are a parent then your primary concern is likely your children’s wellbeing and the health of your future relationship with them. It is natural to worry that divorce will destroy the foundations that you’ve built, or that hostility exhibited either during the marriage or in the course of the legal proceedings will poison things in the future. The good news is that studies have shown that whether parents cooperate or not makes little difference to children’s emotional health, and if you work honestly to strengthen your relations with your kids, they will recognize your efforts and respond in kind.

One of the most important aspects of this effort involves keeping open communication with your children. This means that even if your children are resentful of your divorce, or angry if you have become involved with another person, you need to continue spending time with them.  We are familiar with situations where children have absolutely refused to speak to their parents out of anger or resentment, but the parent has continued to show up and spend time. Rather than forcing children to speak, they have allowed them to sit in their silence so that they know that whenever they want to speak up they can. The parents have written notes, texts and letters to their children regardless of whether they get a response.  Though frustrating and at times painful, it is this type of effort that makes clear to your children that though you have given up on the marriage, you have not given up on your relationship with them – and you won’t, even if they make it difficult for you.

If you are in a situation where your children are not speaking to you, once they do it is important that you respond appropriately. This means telling them how much you appreciate their communication, how much you love them, and that you take responsibility for your role in the divorce. Do not blame your ex-spouse or speak badly about them. The issue is your role in your children’s lives, and that is what you need to keep in mind.

It is a mistake to think that divorce does not impact children — it does. But kids raised in a stressful hostile environment can often feel better once their parents have separated. Your role as a parent is to make sure that your children understand their importance and that the end of the marriage does not mean an end to your role in their lives. For more help on how to navigate the difficulties of divorce, contact our experienced family law attorneys today to set up a time to chat.

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