As a mother with a special needs child, you know that your child may be overwhelmed by the changes that are happening in your lives. Having to travel more, yet seeing less of each parent or having to participate in different activities like special needs daycare or other after-school programs can be difficult and disruptive. Here are some tips to help your child as you resolve your divorce.
Explain the situation in a positive way, avoiding guilt
Everything sounds better with a positive spin. Children need to know that you and their other parent will be there for them, even though you don’t live together. Talk to them about how you support and love them. You want to alleviate feelings of guilt that the divorce resulted from stresses placed on the family due to the child’s special needs.
Explain what will happen in detail, if appropriate
Not all children understand what’s happening even when it’s explained. However, if your child has the capacity to understand, explain where he or she will live, how visitation will work and in what other ways your child’s life will be affected. He or she should have time to talk to you about any concerns. Be patient and address each concern – sometimes multiple times – to allow your child to rest easy knowing that both parents still care.
Consider assistance for a short time
As a now-single parent, your job is providing for your child. Special needs can make that more difficult and time-consuming, and you might need some additional help. Don’t be afraid to reach out to friends, family members or a professional organization to help you with your child’s care while you adjust. This can help your child focus on things other than the divorce, as he or she will meet new people.
These are just a few ways to help yourself and your special needs child cope during divorce. Your legal advisor can help you with any additional concerns you have about your child’s custody arrangements or support.