Divorce is common in Louisiana. If you haven’t been through one yourself, you certainly know a family who has been through the process. Despite how ordinary divorces are, there are some persistent myths about the process, particularly about how it can affect children. Understanding these myths and the problems with them can make it easier to move forward as a family.
Children and divorce
There’s no question that children are deeply affected by divorce. That’s true even if the split happens when they are young. Family law judges know there’s research that shows that with support from caring adults in their lives, children of divorce can function just fine. Unfortunately, even some parents who mean well can make things more difficult for their children by listening to certain divorce myths.
One of these myths is that parents should lie to their children about what’s happening in the family. Honesty is almost always the best policy. Now, that doesn’t mean sharing everything with the children. But they should know the broad contours of what’s happening to their family. Children will sense that something is changing. Helping them understand that change, rather than trying to hide it, is crucial to maintaining a strong and stable home for them.
Another myth surrounding divorce with children is that kids do better when they split their time perfectly evenly with their parents. This is not exactly true. For example, dividing the holidays equally can actually cause stress and disruption for children. The holidays should be a time for them to relax and have fun, not just fulfill their obligations to see family members. It can be better to alternate holidays year by year. When children are old enough, it’s also a good idea to seek their own opinions.
Finally, it’s always prudent to seek professional counseling for children during and after a divorce. Children may show signs of physical, in addition to emotional, stress as their family life changes. Having professional help during this stressful time can be valuable for both parents and children. It can also make it easier to develop a co-parenting plan.