LOUIS, Missouri. The New York Times recently ran a piece celebrating five memorable moments from the popular children’s television show, Mr. Rogers Neighborhood. One of the top moments the Times noted was an episode in which Mr. Rogers discussed divorce on the show. The way Mr. Rogers approached discussing divorce is one that can be instructive to all of us who may be struggling while facing divorce or who may be struggling to speak to our own children about it.
Mr. Rogers spent his career promoting “kindness, civility, and empathy.” While divorce might have the reputation that it is a process lacking in kindness, civility, and empathy, the truth is that it doesn’t have to be that way. Two people can decide to change their relationship to one another, while continuing to be kind, civil, and empathetic. If children see these behaviors in their parents as they get divorced, they may be more likely to bounce back faster and to grow from the experience.
It can still be very difficult to speak to your children about divorce. Psychology Today suggests that parents consider carefully where they will tell their children about the divorce. Avoid public settings and find a quiet place where children can have time to themselves if they need it. Make it clear to the children that it is not their fault and give them space to express their emotions. Some children may be angry or sad, while others may be relieved. Studies have shown that children suffer in homes where both parents are fighting. Children are perceptive and they may have known that this news was coming for some time. For some children, the news may be the beginning of closure for them. However, you can’t always predict how your child will react, so it is important to have resources available.
Your children will need support. Speak to school counselors about resources available at school or consider talking to your child’s pediatrician about possible counselors who can help your child work through their emotions. Your children may have tough questions for you, so be prepared to answer them honestly. However, if you don’t know how to respond, tell your child you’ll need time to think about their question. Don’t use this as an opportunity to dodge your child’s questions though. Take a step back, get support, and keep the conversation going.
Children are resilient. If you are considering getting divorced, it is important to plan ahead and to consider your children’s unique needs. The St. Louis, Missouri divorce lawyers at the Behrens Law Firm, L.L.C. works closely with couples to help them find the best possible child custody and parenting plans. Contact us today at https://ffa.963.myftpupload.com/ to learn more about how you can plan ahead. The Behrens Law Firm understands that child custody decisions are some of the toughest you’ll have to make during your divorce. Fortunately, there are now more options than ever to make co-parenting and divorce easier for both parents and children.