Opposite sex and same-sex divorce can often become a source of stress and trauma for children who are caught in the separation. New laws regarding “no-fault” divorces, which were recently introduced in England and Wales in the UK, are designed to reduce the impact of separation on children. Yet even with these precautions, parents still have a crucial role in lightening the effects of their separation on their children.
So, how can parents care for their children’s wellness during and after divorce proceedings?
During the Proceedings
The period of divorce itself can be the highest point of stress for children, depending on how it is handled. Children may have to interact with their parents’ divorce lawyer, or speak with a counsellor, or explain to their classmates why they’re moving from London to Berkshire, UK.
Minimizing their children’s stress is a big goal for parents during this step. Regardless of their children’s emotional and intellectual capacity, parents must be honest with them when they have questions and assuage them of any guilt. Honesty can reduce a child’s anxiety over their perceived role in the split. Giving them options for support, through counselling, honest talk, or time with other relatives or their friends may aid in their recovery process.
Recusing legal talk or spat from areas where children may see or listen, sticking to an established schedule, and avoiding disruptions to a child’s life, will help them get ready for the next step.
Parenting as a Single Parent
If you have sole custody of your child, a majority of their needs will fall on you. A single-parent household means parents are faced with the challenge of raising and supervising their child while providing for their needs.
Parental obligations remain the same in a legal sense. Solo parents, like couples, are required to provide a home, protect, and nurture a child’s needs. Medical needs, property, education, vacations or permanent moves to another country, and other important decisions regarding their child also fall on their shoulders.
Holistically, single parents are tasked with disciplining their child while showing full support and love.
Parenting as a Non-custodian
Not having custody of your child does not excuse you from parenting obligations. Legally speaking, parents who don’t have custody of their parents must provide financial support. Parental responsibility usually falls on the mother, though fathers may have parental responsibility if their names are on the child’s birth certificate and if they were legally married to their ex-partner.
Legal obligations of a parent to children are linked to their basic needs. Until they reach the age of majority, children are entitled to monthly support payments. A child’s education, medical treatment, and out of country vacations require the parents’ say.
Moreover, parents who do not have custody need to have direct or indirect contact with their child. Children of divorce without trauma often attribute their wellness to having both of their parents involved in their life after divorce.
Divorce does not have to scar children for life. In 2015, an article drawing from several studies reported that 80 percent of children with divorced parents had no lasting scars from the separation. The common thread between well-adjusted children is having supportive parents who carry out their parental responsibilities despite their separation.
Children do not have to bear the brunt of divorce. Like their parents, they can benefit and thrive despite having a single parent dynamic through the right amount of support and love.