For those of us with children, divorce can cause additional fears for the well being of our kids. It adds even more pressure and challenge to the divorce process as the issues of custody and support are involved.
Sometimes we stayed in a bad marriage for the sake of the children but all too often it is the children who suffered as a result. There are ways to handle this divorce in such a way that we can lessen the negative impact while at the same time teaching our kids important life lessons.
A bad marriage or a peaceful divorce?
We learn about love and marriage from our parents, our primary role models. A marriage filled with conflict is not good for the children. Consider the negative impact that contentious atmosphere has on the kids versus what you imagine the negative impact of divorce might be? Of course we would rather that our marriage worked out. But if it doesn’t work then we need to do what we can to help the children through this transition.
Remember, you aren’t the only one grieving and adjusting to this life change.
Children are much more resilient than we give them credit for
They also know what is going on. Once you have separated and while you are going through the divorce process, open and honest communication (age appropriate of course) is the best way to deal with our kids.
You can Lessen the Negative Impact of Divorce on Your Children: Love Them More than You Resent Your Ex
- The most important thing you and your spouse can do for the kids is to not allow your feelings of anger or resentment come before the well being of your kids.
- Don’t expose them to all the negative emotions you both might be experiencing.
- Don’t use them to get back at your ex.
- Keep them safe and secure, that’s what they need.
- As hard as it may be, keep the trash talk about your ex away from them. It serves no other purpose than to stay stuck in pain and alienation.
- Let them know that they are loved, that this divorce is not their doing and that even though Mom and Dad are divorcing each other, they are not divorcing them (the kids).
- Keep them out of the line of fire. Watch them carefully for any type of significantly different behaviors. If you notice your kids acting out then get them support.
- They need support too, much like you! They too are undergoing divorce and their needs are not so radically different from yours.
It is how you handle your divorce that will ease the negative impact on your kids!
Don’t burden your children with your heartaches unnecessarily. They have their own load to carry not to mention the fact that given their age, they simply aren’t up to being your caretaker. Being open about your feelings is okay but not feelings that may prove to be upsetting to them.
Like you, your kids will survive this divorce and given the right support and role modeling, they (and you) will go on to thrive in their adult lives. They too need to go through a process, stages of emotional healing. The best thing you can for your children is to become the person you are meant to be; to heal yourself and go on to create a new life.
The life lessons and wisdom that you are gleaning works for your children as well. If they can see two adults behaving well and working things out in a peaceful manner, they will take those lessons with them for the rest of their lives. There are so many wonderful lessons we can give our kids during this divorce.
Helping Your Kids Cope with Divorce the Sandcastles Way
by M. Gary Neuman (Author)