When a marriage is good, it’s great. When it’s bad, it isn’t good at all. Forty to fifty percent of all first marriages end in divorce, and those numbers increase for subsequent marriages. Divorces are tough to deal with, and when children are involved, it’s even more difficult. Here are a few tips to help you raise your children before, during, and after a divorce.
Don’t Get the Kids Involved
It’s best to leave the kids out of it. Only give them the necessary information: what’s happening, what they should expect, and who will live where. Things don’t always work out, but the kids don’t need to know the dirty details. That’s why finding a family lawyer is so important. No matter how bad your ex is, degrading them in front of the children will only backfire.
Reassure The Children The Divorce Isn’t Their Fault
This step goes beyond omitting the gory details and delves into your children’s personal feelings. Children are self-centered by nature, and many times they don’t realize that people and things exist independently of one another. Therefore, they may blame themselves for everything that’s gone wrong, including the divorce.
Get Into Therapy
Divorces are tough on everyone, regardless of age. Parents and children alike can benefit from counseling during a divorce. For children, a therapist’s office is a safe place to share their anger, sadness, disappointment, and fear. If they’re old enough and wish to do so, allow them to go to therapy alone.
Don’t Confide in Your Children
This tip may seem obvious, but when you’re involved in a traumatic separation or divorce, it’s tempting to confide in your child, especially if they’re older. It’s important to resist the temptation. They’re not your parents, and they’re dealing with their own thoughts and feelings, so they’re not equipped to handle yours.
Maintain a Civil Relationship With the Ex
This step is hard, but it’s crucial to your children’s long-term welfare. You may despise your ex right now. However, unless they’re abusive or it would be harmful to promote a relationship, it’s important to do so. Be cordial, polite, and respectful to one another. You’re the adult, so act like one! After all, you married the person and had children with them, and your children didn’t choose the life they were born into. As your children see their parents relate to each other maturely, they’ll learn to cope.
Maintaining a Relationship: Part Two
This step is even harder than the one before. To help your children cope with your divorce, try to share important days with your ex. Though holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas aren’t always doable, birthdays, sports games, and school functions are. There’s no greater gift to give a child than the fact that they’re being celebrated by both parents at the same time. When things are turned upside-down, there’s nothing that helps more than the stability children feel when their parents are finally getting along.
Divorces aren’t easy for parents or children, even when they happen under the best of circumstances. However, a divorce doesn’t have to create disappointment and maladjustment in your children. Kids are highly adaptable, and when they see how well you’re dealing with the trauma of divorce, it will show them how to handle things with maturity and grace.