John Elledge & Assoc PC
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A bilingual law firm serving Shenandoah Valley and the surrounding areas of Virginia.

What children need during a separation and divorce

Children have sensitive hearts when it comes to parents splitting up. It is often the most difficult experience for a child to endure while growing up. There is a major paradigm shift from what ‘family’ was originally defined, to the unknown of what it is becoming.

Fear and sadness are common underlying emotions behind anger and silence. Children need to feel safe and loved always and divorce can significantly disengage them from those vital feelings. Parents are the pillars they attach themselves to while they are still too young to take care of themselves. Therefore, their emotional wellbeing is vulnerable when not protected.

Stay engaged

It is easy to mentally ‘check-out’ from the day-to-day onslaught of responsibilities of the divorce process. However, your children need you to stay engaged in their worlds. They need to know that they are seen and valued despite the dramatic changes going on around them. They don’t know what is going to happen and are looking to you for reassurance and stability. Being present and emotionally available on a consistent basis is key.

Structure and planning

Children thrive on structure and planning. Predictable schedules help kids know what to expect and fall into the routine of things. As much as possible, try to organize your life with all the changes to resume a structured schedule. Children need to feel secure and safe. This is possible by eliminating as much chaos as possible and planning for a smoother transition.

Love

Children need the most love and reassurance during this time of change. Make an intentional effort to show love in many ways to your children despite your separation and divorce. When they feel loved, they are less likely to act out and misbehave in other areas of their lives. Love will reconnect them to their place in each family member’s heart, even if the family is being divided.

Divorce can be scary and unsettling for adults and children alike. It is important to take care of your mental wellbeing and seek support for yourself as well. Children will benefit the most when you manage your stress in healthy ways and can offer them peace during the storm of divorce. It is possible.

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John Elledge & Assoc PC
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Harrisonburg, VA 22802

Phone: 540-217-6086
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