Helping children cope with divorce: What Utah parents should know

There are several strategies parents should use as they tell their children they are getting divorced and help them through the process.

When parents in Utah decide to end their marriage, they often worry about how their children will cope with this change in their lives. Although a divorce is a huge change for all members of the family, there are still strategies parents can use to help their children adjust before, during and after the conclusion of the divorce.

Breaking the news

When parents decide it is time to tell their children about their impending divorce, there are a few guidelines they should keep in mind so the conversation goes as smoothly as possible. These include the following:

  • When deciding how to tell their children, parents should put careful though into the setting and circumstances of the conversation.
  • Instead of telling just one child about the breakup, parents should tell all their children at once so siblings do not feel like they have to keep this secret from one another.
  • Parents should remember that their children may react differently than they originally assumed, and they should refrain from trying to suppress their children's feelings.
  • Once the conversation begins, parents should avoid blaming one another for the end of their marriage and make the divorce appear as a unified decision.

Once parents tell their children they are getting divorced, they should also be supportive of the painful reactions their children might have and answer their questions as honestly as possible.

Helping kids through the process

Those getting divorced should keep in mind that how their children adjust to life after the divorce with a new child custody agreement in place greatly depends on how they interact and communicate as parents. For this reason, parents should avoid speaking negatively about their former spouse in front of their children, and refrain from making their children choose between one parent or the other.

Parents should also avoid situations where their children overhear them discussing child support issues, and refrain from trying to get their children to tell them information about their ex-spouse. Additionally, parents should not use their children as a way to hurt their former spouse in any manner.

Seek the guidance of an attorney

The divorce process in Utah can be emotionally difficult for children and their parents, regardless of whether the split is amicable or one-sided. To help the divorce process goes as smoothly as possible, parents should contact an attorney in their area who can ensure the best interests of their children are protected throughout.