Children and divorce in Illinois: Helping kids deal with the changes

Going through the divorce of their parents is often difficult for children in Illinois, but there are things parents can do to help ease the transition.

Even in Illinois homes that have been unhappy, children may feel frightened and anxious about the prospect of their parents divorcing. As such, going through this type of major life change is bound to have an effect on kids of all ages. However, there are things that parents can do to help ease their children through the transition and cope with the change.

According to WebMD, most experts suggest that the level of contention and ill will between parents may impact how kids deal with divorce. Additionally, how the parents themselves deal with and adjust to the split may have a significant effect on how children handle the end of a marriage. Therefore, it is important that people put an emphasis on their kids as they begin creating separate lives and families.

Acknowledge the situation

Children commonly experience a range of emotions when they learn their parents are divorcing. They may get angry, cry or have numerous other natural reactions. It is advisable to allow them to experience these emotions, and encourage them to communicate their feelings. Parents should let their kids know that they are also sad about the situation, but reassure them that they are still loved and will be okay.

Be prepared for questions

Whether initially, or after the news has had time to settle in, children commonly have a lot of questions when their parents break up. Some may have emotional questions, like asking why their parents have to divorce or wondering if they are to blame for the split. Other children may have more practical questions, such as inquiring about the custody and visitation arrangement, or asking where they will live.

It is suggested that parents be prepared, and willing, to answer their children's questions, even if they are difficult. This may help ease kids' anxieties as they process their parents' divorce, as well as aid them in feeling more secure.

Continue parenting as normal

Some parents may feel guilty following a divorce, while others may seek to "win" and be viewed as the better or cooler parent. Showering children with expensive gifts or relaxing the rules, however, will not necessarily help them cope with the break up. Rather, parents are counseled to continue parenting as they always have. Particularly following a divorce, continuity may be useful in helping children to grow and flourish.

Avoid negativity

Often, people have feelings of hurt or anger toward their former partners during, or after, a divorce. While this is normal, and people need to work through these issues, it is important for parents to keep their kids out of the fight. In general, parents are advised to respect the relationship between their child and his or her other parent. Forcing children to choose sides in a divorce may inhibit their ability to cope with the split.

The Mayo Clinic suggests that people refrain from speaking badly about their former spouses in front of their kids. Additionally, it is recommended that parents do not use their children as a messenger between themselves and their ex-partners.

Seek legal representation

For families in Lake Zurich, and elsewhere, there is often a range of emotions at play at the end of a marriage. In some cases, this may complicate and draw out the divorce process. As such, those who are considering a divorce may benefit from working with an attorney. A legal representative may help guide them through the process, as well as negotiate on their behalf.