Divorce or any other child custody case is a difficult experience for everyone involved. Certainly, most parents addressing custody cases or situations through the court system would report high levels of stress, but these situations are often especially hard on children. Children may feel confused, angry, sad, and scared. They may also worry about their future and how the child custody case will affect them.
Children who have effective communication skills are better able to cope with the stress of divorce. They are able to express their feelings in a healthy way, and they are able to ask for help when they need it. They are also better able to understand and process what is happening and why it is happening. Of course, the best case scenario is that the children involved have little or no awareness that a child custody case is pending or will be addressed, but in some situations, particularly if there is a guardian ad litem or a child custody evaluation that the children have to be involved with in some way, it is almost impossible to protect the child from any knowledge or awareness of the litigation.
Children with effective communication skills are better able to process through, understand and even resolve conflict peacefully, share their feelings, and process ideas with others, enhancing cooperation and relationship building. Of course, there are many adults who struggle with communication abilities. Therefore, teaching and modeling effective communication skills are likely crucial to not only having your children succeed through a difficult child custody process but also to having success as they continue on in their lives. Children need to understand the characteristics of an assertive speaker and an active listener.
An Assertive Speaker is able to use confident body language, look the other person in the eye, use a firm tone of voice, and have a calm facial expression while carefully articulating their thoughts. An Active Listener excels at maintaining eye contact with the speaker, leaning in toward the speaker, focusing on what the speaker is saying, repeating what the speaker is saying, asking clarifying questions, and ignoring distractions.
There are a few things that parents can do to help their children develop effective communication skills. First, parents can model good communication skills themselves. By talking to their children openly and honestly, but limiting what is shared to what is appropriate in an age-appropriate way, parents can attempt to listen to their children without judgment. Second, parents can encourage their children to express their feelings. They can provide a safe and supportive environment where children can talk about their thoughts and feelings. Third, parents can teach their children problem-solving skills. They can help their children find healthy ways to deal with conflict and stress.
Children who have effective communication skills are better able to cope with the stress of divorce. They are also better able to maintain healthy relationships with their parents and with others.
Here are some additional tips for parents who are going through a custody situation and want to try to help their children in effective ways:
- Be honest with your children about what is happening but don't overshare inappropriate or adult-oriented topics. Be age-appropriate in your explanations and ensure your children do not hear or overhear adult content when they are not intended to.
- Answer your children's questions honestly, even if they are difficult, but don't use this as an excuse to overshare adult content that your children should be shielded from.
- Reassure your children that they are loved and that the child custody process is not their fault, nor are they responsible for what occurs or any disagreements between the adults.
- Allow your children to express their feelings. Don't judge them or tell them how they should feel. Offer support and active listening to their feelings, don't try to argue or dispute their feelings.
- Help your children to stay connected with both parents.
- Seek professional help if you need it. A therapist or child development specialist can help you and your children cope with the emotional challenges of a child custody case.
Child custody conflicts are a difficult experience, but it is possible for children to thrive even in the midst of it. With the right support, children can learn to cope with the stress of divorce and emerge from it stronger and more resilient.
How Co-Parenting Can Help Children Thrive During Divorce or Other Child Custody Cases:
Divorce can be a difficult and stressful experience for everyone involved, but it can be especially hard on children. Children may feel confused, angry, sad, and scared. They may also worry about their future and how the divorce will affect them.
Co-parenting is a way for parents to work together to raise their children even though they are no longer together. Co-parenting can help children feel safe and secure, and it can help them to adjust to the changes in their lives.
There are many benefits to co-parenting. Co-parenting can help children to:
- Feel loved and supported by both parents.
- Have a consistent routine and schedule.
- Maintain a close relationship with both parents.
- Deal with the emotional challenges of divorce in a healthy way.
Co-parenting can be challenging, but it is possible for parents to put aside their differences and work together for the sake of their children. Here are some tips for co-parenting:
- Communicate effectively. This means being honest with each other, listening to each other, and respecting each other's opinions.
- Be flexible. There will be times when you need to be flexible with your schedule and your plans.
- Be patient. It takes time to adjust to co-parenting. Be patient with each other and with your children.
- Seek professional help if you need it. A therapist or co-parenting counselor can help you and your co-parent to communicate effectively and to resolve any conflicts that may arise.
Co-parenting is not always easy, but it is possible for parents to put aside their differences and work together for the sake of their children. With communication, flexibility, patience, and professional help, parents can co-parent effectively and help their children thrive during child custody cases. Parents who model effective communication are likely to help their children learn to communicate effectively and thrive during difficult times.
If you need a family law attorney to help you and your family work through communication, call Pingel Family Law at (816) 208-8130 to schedule your consultation with our knowledgeable and compassionate law firm.