Modern life can be hectic, even without complications like divorce and COVID-19. Adult stress levels are at all-time highs right now. But what about our children? How are they handling major lifestyle changes? As a divorced or soon-to-be-divorced parent, helping kids cope with both divorce and COVID-19 may be a high priority. In this article, we offer some tips that may help you and your children.
Maintain the Status Quo During Divorce and COVID-19 Shutdowns
If at all possible, avoid making any additional significant changes in schedule or living arrangements. Sometimes it is unavoidable, so just try to make the process as easy for your children as you can. For example, you and your co-parent may disagree on ways to balance safety with custody, visitation, and educational needs. Working out disagreements in an amicable way is best for everyone involved.
Talk to your divorce attorney if it becomes necessary to modify your parenting plan.
Keep Relationships Strong
As you struggle with work and school issues, it can be easy to take love for granted. Yet both parents need to offer unconditional love to their kids at all times. Saying, “I love you” helps, but actions often speak louder than words. However, this involves restraint on your part.
Don’t fight with your co-parent in front of the kids. It’s best to refrain from even criticizing each other when the kids might overhear. This type of communication only serves to increase their distress and weaken their relationships with both you and their other parent.
Be as Honest and Open as Possible About Your Divorce and COVID-19
You know your child better than anyone. Some kids cannot handle watching the news, especially when the focus is on disturbing events. Lying about difficult situations can be counterproductive. But maybe children don’t need to know everything about what’s going on.
Helping your kids cope means tailoring your messages about divorce and COVID-19. Also, try to avoid criticizing your co-parent or giving specifics on situations the kids are too young to understand.
Recognize and Address Their Pain
Both divorce and COVID-19 separate children from the people and places they love. Helping your kids cope with the upheavals in their life first requires that you be aware of how they feel. Is your child acting up more than usual? Has he or she suddenly gone silent? Give them a safe space to express themselves, then help them find ways to cope with their new normal.
Get Professional Help When Necessary
Mental health issues appear to be increasing because of the coronavirus public health emergency. Divorce also can be a contributing factor to depression and other mental health concerns.
If you feel your kids are just not handling your current situation, it may be time to call in some help. Check with your insurance company to review your options. Also, consider calling your child’s guidance counselor for suggestions.
Divorce and COVID-19 Together Pack a Powerful Punch. Helping Kids Cope Is Crucial.
Family court judges keep your child’s best interests at the forefront when making decisions. In this turbulent time, all of us need to prioritize our children’s needs.
The attorneys at the Law Offices of Judy L. Burger are experienced at all phases of divorce, including child custody and visitation. Call us at 415-293-8314 to schedule a private appointment or visit our website. We maintain offices in San Francisco, San Diego, Beverly Hills, Marin County, Santa Barbara, Ventura/Oxnard, San Jose, Gold River (Sacramento), and surrounding communities.