In my experience as a Bergen County, New Jersey, and Monmouth County divorce lawyer and family law attorney, I have found that divorce is as equally, if not more, difficult for children than adults. Being aware of this can help you with understanding changes in their personality and relationship with you. After your divorce has been finalized, it could also be the end of a once positive relationship you had with your child(ren). However, here are three ways that I have witnessed my clients help rebuild their relationship with their child(ren) after a divorce:
- Don’t Take Their Anger Personally
Understand they may still be processing the divorce, while you have accepted the fact that your marriage is over. Understand that anger is oftentimes masked as fear. Your child(ren) may be fearful of losing you as a parent. Reassure them that is not the case. If your child is old enough to attend therapy, it is highly recommended to find a therapist for them. Family lawyers have access to these resources here in Bergen County, New Jersey. Also, in his book, ‘The Four Agreements,’ Don Miguel Ruiz writes about the importance of not taking things personally. Allow your child(ren) to process their emotions and in due time, be willing to have an honest dialogue with them.
2. Communicate Clearly and Openly
Depending on their age, children may feel like the divorce is their fault. Let them know otherwise. Clearly communicate with them the reason(s) why you divorced and be honest (while considering their age). Older children tend to appreciate and accept unfiltered communication, but you will have to be more sensitive with younger children. Also, refrain from speaking negatively about your former spouse, and answer all questions your children will have – even the difficult ones.
3. Ask for Forgiveness and Move Forward
Top Bergen County, New Jersey divorce lawyers understand the importance of upholding the law while remaining emotionally aware. If necessary, I advise you to sincerely ask for your child’s forgiveness and accept you for not being perfect. Again, more than likely, your child(ren) will take the divorce personally. By openly communicating with them, being vulnerable, and asking for forgiveness shows that you are headed in the right direction to rebuilding your relationship with them. Once you have mastered these steps, you can then move forward with having a positive relationship with your child(ren) again.
This article contains general information and opinions from Sheena Burke Williams and is not intended to be a source of legal advice for any purpose. No reader of this article should act or refrain from acting on the basis of information included in this article without seeking legal advice of counsel. Sheena Burke Williams expressly disclaims all liability with respect to actions taken or not taken based on any content in this article.