Children and Divorce are a potent mix. The pain that you go through during your divorce is reflected and sometimes amplified for your children. Most often they have no idea of exactly what has gone wrong in the relationship, and frequently they blame themselves for the resulting divorce.
So how can you love your children and divorce their mom or dad at the same time? The fact is, relationships break down from time to time and children suffer as much as adults, especially if they have a good relationship with the ex.
All through the divorce you will experience pain, and so will the children, but our Top Ten survival guide can help both you and the kids survive this difficult time…
Children and Divorce: Our Top Ten Survival Guide…
1. Assure them the Divorce is Not Their Fault!
They are your children and divorce is not their fault. Explain that it is a decision that mom and dad have made, and although it affects them, it is not their fault, and there is nothing they can do directly to repair the relationship. What’s done is done, and you all have to do the best you can dealing with the fallout!
2. Maintain Routine
Routine is a friend to your children, so as much as you can keep them in a familiar routine. There will be times you have to vary it, especially when trying to fit visitation in, but make sure they are able to continue in what they see as important in their lives, even after school things like football or dance classes.
3. Careful What you Say
As tempting as it is to speak badly of your ex, you need to stop doing this. Always speak kindly of them, because throwing mud is ground lost, and you can turn your children against you if you speak negatively.
4. Be Transparent
As much as you think the children will understand, speak openly and honestly about your reasons for the separation. Your children deserve to know the truth about the divorce.
5. Don’t Make the Children Choose Mom or Dad
Having to choose between the two parents places your children in an uncomfortable position, so avoid forcing them to choose, especially pressuring them into choosing you. When dividing their time, try to keep it even and fair between the two of you. If they don’t choose your way, let them live with their decision and never guilt trip them. Don’t take it personally, but rather tell them that you love them no matter what thye do or decide.
6. Spend Time with Them
Children and divorce equals pain and loneliness, so the best way for you to show your love for your kids is to spend time with them. Take them out for an ice-cream, to dinner or for a walk in a park, or have a great night at home with a movie and popcorn!
7. Take Time for Yourself
Put the kids first, sure, but remember in all of this you are also in pain, so take some time for yourself. Treat yourself occasionally, enjoy friends or just stare at the stars for an hour one night. Whatever you do you need to protect both your children and yourself during this divorce.
8. Minimize Drama with the Ex
Divorce can be tense, and your children feel the tension. Talk to your ex-partner and even if you hate one another, agree to speak well of each other especially in front of the children. If you finish yelling at each other the children will feel the pain, so put on a happy face and control yourself!
9. Remain Positive
If you are experiencing divorce and the children are unstable and reacting, always try to remain positive. Speak positively about your ex, yourself and especially the children themselves, because positive words build up while negativity breaks down!
10. Remain Firm about Your Decision
Children are always hopeful that you might get back together again, and you may look back with rose colored glasses on your relationship, but you need to remain firm on your decision to divorce. Having your ex-partner sleeping over sometimes might work for you and your needs, but it will confuse the children and raise hopes of reconciliation. Give them a firm and stable situation for their sake.
Using this survival guide and applying these Top Ten ideas can help you cope with the developing situation. With the right attitude you will help your children and divorce situation.