You're getting divorced, but what are your children feeling? Divorce is hard enough on the parents, whether the one who wants "out" or the one who wants to work it out. But what about the children? Children of divorce are not immune to the pain of divorce. And as hard as it is to get a divorce, our children need to be taken into consideration. Hopefully the act of divorce will force us as parents to focus more on our children than the hurt that divorce causes each of us. So what are ways to help our children when we divorce?
How Do My Children Feel About Our Divorce?
Divorce is confusing, stressful and downright sad for children. The best way we can help children of divorce cope is to provide continuity and stability in the home. Make sure you are still meeting your children's emotional and physical needs at this time and be strong, positive and reassuring. And this can be difficult when we are a mess. But we are parents and they are our children. We need to "buck up." If we cannot, then we need to get help.
Help Kids During a Divorce
As a divorcing parent, it is completely normal to worry about how your child is doing and how to give them the right support. But do not give up! There are ways to make sure that your children feel strong, loved and confident. Patience, reassurance and being a good listener is the key. In addition, keeping things peaceful with the ex is helpful, although we all know that is not easy depending on the situation. The bottom line is to not let the children see you arguing with your ex. And in a perfect world, the ex would agree, but keeping your children away from conflict from your ex may be a chore.
What Children Wish Divorcing Parents Knew
- I worry that you both won't be involved in my life. Please reassure me about this.
- Don't fight anymore and show me you can get along. Try hard to agree on issues that involve me. Otherwise I will feel that it is my fault.
- Know that I want you both to have fun when you spend time with me. If I sense jealously on either side, I will feel stress and think that I need to take sides. I love you both regardless.
- Don't make me pass along messages to each other. Communicate directly. It's not my job.
- Don't bad-mouth each other in front of me. It makes me sad.
- I love you both and remember that no matter what, I want both of you to be in my life.
Getting divorced is among the hardest situations a person goes through. No matter what the circumstances, there are still ways to help our children get through a divorce. Don't be afraid to get yourself and children in counselling. Use free resources, such as the church or family assistance if need be. And remember that there is life after divorce.