An unexpected lawsuit takes its toll on your nerves and leaves kids feeling scared and uncertain about the future. Fear of the unknown is enough to make anyone question their safety and security, especially children. They may not be aware of the constraints of the law and may catastrophize in their minds a situation that is actually not as bad as it seems. No matter what the case may be, they’re afraid and not sure what is going to happen next. You as a parent need to provide comfort and support in times of uncertainty.
The following ideas help calm your kids while dealing an unexpected lawsuit. It teaches them to not be afraid and to trust in your ability to make things right. It helps familiarize them with the legal process, too, so they don’t grow up misunderstanding or fearing it.
Help them understand that this isn’t their fault
Among the most important things that you do to ease your children’s worries is to explain to them that the situation isn’t their fault. Lawsuits are things that many adults face and overcome, and they lawsuit don’t necessarily mean that you’re at fault. If proof exists that could convince a jury you’re in the right, tell your child about it.
Find a Kid-Friendly Resource That Explains Lawsuits
Part of your child’s fear may come from confusion. Seek out a website, video or book that breaks down legal terms into a language children understand. HowStuffWorks uses simple terminology and kid-friendly examples for you to share. You’ll likely find YouTube videos, too, that are suitable for children to view.
Go Over Possible Outcomes with Your Child
Explain what might happen after the trial. Let them know that you won’t be thrown in jail, but you may have to pay some money. Uncertainty can make children—and adults—act out, so it’s important to share information about civil and criminal defense and potential outcomes with them in a way that they understand.
Plan a Special Day to Spend Together
Make things less stressful by sticking to a routine as often as possible. However, you should also plan a day to unwind and have fun with your kids. Doing this before your court date will give the kids something fun to think about leading up to the lawsuit.
Keeping your cool allows your children to remain calm and collected when learning of your legal woes. Help them understand the law and how it pertains to you and this particular situation to make it less scary for them. They’ll have a better understanding of how lawsuits work and what can be done, and you’ll have one less thing to worry about.
Anita is a freelance writer from Denver, CO. She studied at Colorado State University and now writes articles about business, health, home improvement, and family. A mother of two, she enjoys traveling with her family whenever she isn’t writing.