The hardest part of any divorce is the effect it has on your children. Many people even stay married longer than they should because they are so concerned about what will happen to the kids if their parents are no longer together. The reality is, divorce will affect your children for the rest of their lives, but probably not in the way you think.
Children are resilient and once they see how much happier your family is without the constant bickering and stress they will come to understand that the divorce was necessary. Small children will not understand the details of divorce, only that mom and dad don’t live together anymore. Older children and teens may resent one parent or another for the divorce, but most of the time, they come around.
One of the ways you can help your children is by talking to a therapist who specializes in children and divorce. Some parents don’t want their kids to see a therapist for fear others will think something is wrong with them. The truth is, your children will be free to discuss all of their fears and concerns with a neutral adult who can help them deal with their emotions.
Always be sure your child’s teacher knows what is happening. Again, some people try to keep the divorce a secret, but this can make your child feel guilty if they need to talk to someone. You don’t need to share details with the teacher just let them know so they can watch for any issues at school.
Because children cannot distinguish between someone yelling at them or yelling at someone near them, if you fight with your spouse in front of the kids, you will traumatize them. Never fight with the children in the home and never say anything negative about your spouse to the children. You may be angry and hurt, but the kids love their other parent, too. Trying to get the kids “on your side” will only hurt them and that is the last thing you want to do.
Keep their routine as close to normal as possible. Obviously, there will be some changes, but if they can stay in the family home and in the same school, it will lessen the stress they are feeling. Even if you will have to move at some point, a few months of normal after the divorce can make a world of difference.
Even as you try to work out a divorce settlement, keep your children as your first priority. They need both parents during this time and they need to know the divorce is not their fault. Also, make sure they understand that mom and dad love them as much as ever.
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