Keeping the Kids Secure During Divorce
Ask any divorced couple with children and they will tell you that the kids kept them together after everything else fell apart. Worrying about how kids are affected by divorce keeps many couple from splitting up even when the love is gone. Of course, staying together for the kids is no real way to live. Not only does it keep the adults from being happy, it gives the children a distorted view of what a marriage should be like. If you are worried about how your kids will cope with divorce, this guide may give some direction.
How to Keep the Kids Out of a Divorce Drama
Divorce is painful for everyone involved, but it's potentially most damaging for children. After all, for mom and dad, divorce means a chance to make a clean break and find happiness. For kids, divorce can literally feel like the end of the world. Not only is the family breaking up, but the very foundation of the child's life is changing forever.
However, sometimes divorce is inevitable. In some cases, it's the right thing to do, even if children are involved. It's natural to worry about how kids deal with divorce, but there is a lot you can do to help make the change easier for them.
Tips for Talking to Kids About Divorce
- Don't badmouth your partner. Even if everything is his fault, it's essential not to undermine your children's other parent. Though he may be a low-down snake to you, to them, he's still dad. If you turn the kids against him, you'll only be hurting yourself in the long run. Kids grow up, and when they do, they'll recognize any manipulation on your part. Of course, if your ex is dangerous to you or the children, you should always seek legal protection.
- Be honest. Younger children don't need to know all the details or reasoning behind a divorce, but you should always be honest with them about what is happening and how it will change their lives. Older kids and divorce are a different story. Tweens or teens may need more information to understand what is happening and why. Use common sense and give kids as much information as they can safely process.
- Smooth the transition. You can't protect your kids from all the pain of a divorce, but you can make the transition as easy as possible. Keep as many things the same as you can. If you’re able, let them live in the same house and attend the same school. Don't move them away from their friends. Put any major changes like moving to a new home or joint custody arrangements on hold for a few months.
- Stay involved. Your children are the one thing that continues to connect you to your ex after a divorce. You should both try and be a part of their lives as much as possible. Set aside petty differences and let your ex come to sports games, recitals, birthdays and holidays. Though it may be hard, you need to keep your ex in your life for the sake of the kids.
No one wants to put kids through divorce, but it happens every day. Ultimately, your role is to be a parent first and an individual second. Put your personal grievances aside and work with your partner to make the divorce as easy on the kids as possible.