LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) – This week, CBSLA will focus on strategies for surviving divorce. On Monday, a family therapist offers do’s and don’ts of divorce when children are involved.
“There’s a tremendous amount of pain that happens and is shed in my office when it comes to divorce. Lots of tears,” said child psychologist Fran Walfish, who specializes in helping children of divorce.
BREAKING THE NEWS TO YOUR KIDS.
“Do not tell your children until you have a move day set. Then you tell your child about three, four weeks before that date happens,” she advises keeping the information simple with younger children.
“I think you know there’s been too much arguing in this house and mommy and daddy have decided we’d all be happier, especially you, if mommy and daddy lived in two different houses,” Walfish advised.
“If you say that much, then you leave room for your child to ask you the questions and you can answer them,” Walfish said. “If a child opens up and actually tells you: ‘I want you and daddy or I want you and mommy to go back together,’ First praise your child for saying it out loud. Always praise your child for telling you and expressing their feelings honest emotion.”
DON’T SHOW ANIMOSITY TOWARD YOUR FORMER SPOUSE IN FRONT OF YOUR CHILDREN.
“Your child is 50 percent you and 50 percent your ex. When you put down the other partner, you’re putting down half of your child, and they know it and feel it,” Walfish added.
DON’T PUT YOUR KIDS IN THE MIDDLE.
“Don’t say: ‘Tell daddy to send the check’ if you didn’t get your alimony check,” she said. That’s grown up matter between mom and dad.”
KEEP IT CIVIL.
“Remember, this is about reducing anxiety and keeping your kids happy, healthy, wholesome so that they can grow up with as little baggage as possible and not land in my office when they’re 35 years old,” Walfish joked.
KEEP YOUR SCHEDULES IN SYNC.
She advised keeping schedules, playdates, rules and bedtimes in sync between both households. And try your best to sit together at soccer games and ballet recitals for your kids’ sake.
If you have a question about divorce, send it to us using the #CBSLAdivorceweek, We will answer it live on the 5 p.m. newscast Friday.
On Tuesday, we will have advice for couples going through a divorce but who have to continue living together.