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The Importance of Providing Stability for Children During Divorce

Posted on in Illinois Divorce

Illinois family law attorneysA divorce can be unsettling for all family members, especially for children. Parents may worry that changes following a divorce can lead to lasting emotional trauma for their kids. Many lifestyle changes can confuse young children, and it is essential for parents to try to provide stability during the divorce process and after the marriage has been dissolved. Parents looking to provide stability and maintain a successful routine for their children post-divorce should encourage a structured routine, communicate about co-parenting rules, and encourage open dialogue with their kids. 

Stick to a Structured Routine

According to Head Start, the Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center, everyday activities and routines can comfort children during uncertain times. As parents make decisions regarding child custody, living situations, and division of parenting time, children may feel worried that they are losing quality time with one parent over another or fear the loss of familiar family routines. Ways to incorporate familiar activities into children's lives during the divorce process include:

  • Sticking to the typical morning or nighttime routine
  • Continuing parent-child dates
  • Allowing the child to stay in the same school following the divorce 
  • Keeping siblings together following the divorce 
  • Allowing the parent with the majority of parenting time to remain in the family home 

Another fundamental way to incorporate structure and routine for children following a divorce is to integrate new practices that promote stability in the new family structure. For example, a parent should stick to a new morning routine for children who have been uprooted during a divorce to encourage familiarity and give the children a sense of comfort and control.

Communicate About Rules

Co-parenting can be challenging, especially in the beginning. Newly divorced parents may find themselves in entirely different lifestyles than during the marriage. However, to maintain stability for the children, it is vital to communicate essential rules and boundaries. If at dad's house, bedtime is 10 p.m., but bedtime is a strict 7:30 p.m. at mom's, children can feel confused. Head Start states that children with a healthy routine feel more in control of their environment, feel safe and secure, and are more likely to behave. When making legal decisions about custody, child support, and visitation, parents should also communicate about how to keep rules the same, or very similar, at both parents' houses. 

Talk About Feelings

If you suspect your child is having difficulty adjusting to a divorce, it is best to talk about how they are feeling. Nationwide Children's Hospital recommends using emotional language when opening up with your child. Emotional language includes:

  • Using and teaching specific words for feelings
  • Summarizing big feelings and validating them 
  • Using characters from a child's favorite show or movie to relate to situations or feelings
  • Promote emotional language and conversations often

Contact a Skilled Kane County Divorce and Family Lawyer Today

At Weiler & Lengle P.C., we understand the many challenges families face as they choose to divorce. Our Kane County divorce and family attorneys often handle complex issues such as child custody and visitation arrangements. We can help you work through your legal matters so that you can focus on your family. Contact us today at 630-382-8050 to schedule a consultation with our office. 

 

Sources:

https://eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov/about-us/article/importance-schedules-routines 

https://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?DocName=075000050HPt%2E+VI&ActID=2086&ChapterID=59&SeqStart=8675000&SeqEnd=12200000 

https://www.nationwidechildrens.org/family-resources-education/700childrens/2019/01/using-emotional-language

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