Divorce can be extremely traumatic for children. It can shake up even the most resilient, emotionally healthy kids. Of course, it's also very hard for the divorcing spouses who must continue to co-parent. One thing you may not expect is for your children to express a desire to live with the other parent. Whether you have shared, partial or full custody, this news can be difficult. Follow these tips if your children tell you they want to live with your ex.
Stay Calm No Matter How Angry Your Kids Are
Although it is only natural to get upset if your kids are saying they want to live with the other parent, do your best to not reveal your emotions. It's not being dishonest with your children to simply excuse yourself if you feel that you may lose control of your emotions.
Staying in control of your emotions can be extraordinarily difficult during a divorce, and it's okay to let your kids know that it's tough on you, too. However, when it comes to their other parent, children shouldn't feel any guilt about expressing their desire to be with your ex.
Be Aware That Your Kids May Be Saying Things They Don't Mean
Children act out in a lot of ways during a divorce. Sometimes they may say something to one parent, then say something entirely different to the other parent. They may even be telling your ex that they prefer to live with you. They may try to play you and your ex against each other, or they might be trying to get a rise out of you because they're frustrated.
Although that can be extremely frustrating, misbehavior is common during a divorce when kids are facing so much upheaval. When kids have to simply accept the drastic changes that a divorce can bring into their lives, they may be desperate to feel in control of something. Misbehavior may simply be your child attempting to feel in control of a situation that they ultimately have very little control over.
Try to keep their behavior in perspective.
Support the Idea of Putting Your Kids in Therapy
Psychotherapy is usually a good idea for any person involved in a divorce, and it can help your children adjust to the "new normal" that they will have to accept. Of course, you don't want to decide that your children need therapy based solely on the fact that they want to live with the other parent. However, putting your kids in therapy can really help them.
Therapy can help your kids sort through the complex, painful feelings that may come in waves during the divorce. You may even decide that family therapy is the best option. You can help reassure your children that you are still a family, too, although things have changed.
Seek Immediate Advice From Your Divorce Lawyer
When it comes to custody of your children, it's important to proceed with caution. Although you child might have said they wanted to live with your ex and meant it as an empty statement, there is also the possibility that your kids genuinely want to live with your ex. Because that may not be in their best interests, it is important to stay calm and get in touch with your attorney for advice on your specific situation.
Finally, try not to take it personally and keep a consistently loving attitude towards your children as they find a way to cope with the divorce. For any issues regarding the custody of your children, it's wise to consult a divorce attorney as soon as possible. If you're dealing with divorce or custody issues in the Miami Beach area, the Gerardin Law Firm can help.