While divorce can feel like a lonely and alienating experience, it’s important to remember that it’s a common occurrence that many people do go through at some point in their life. Of course, divorcing when kids are in the picture can be a little more difficult. There are more people’s needs, emotions and lifestyles that you need to take into account throughout the entire process. If you are having difficulties in your marriage, have tried to figure them out and are unable to reconcile them, separation is generally a positive approach that, if properly handled, can benefit everyone involved. However, it is important that you go about things the right way. Here are some suggestions that can make the entire scenario a little easier for your kids.
This may sound silly, but it’s important that you understand the divorce process before diving in. So many people head straight into divorce, not really knowing what the process entails, their rights, how long things will take or any other details. Speaking to a divorce lawyer – with or without your partner present – can help you to understand what you need to manage and how you can best manage it in a mature and adult way.
Divorce tends to be emotionally wrought. You’ll feel that you are going through a lot and have a lot on your plate. Now may be a good time to consider therapy, as it will help you to learn healthy coping mechanisms, understand your individual feelings and reactions and can prevent you from taking out any negative emotions on others around you. Many parents going through the divorce process can behave negatively around their children, perhaps being angry, irritable, or otherwise difficult to be around.
It’s important to be open with your children about what is going on to avoid confusion. Kids pick up on a lot and divorce can’t remain a secret forever. At the same time, it’s important to present the information in an age appropriate way. Kids don’t need to be burdened by being told about one parent or the others’ failures or shortcomings. Instead, they simply need to know that their parents are separating and that things will be a little different.
Of course, you need to be compassionate and empathetic at this time. Comforting your kids is a must, as they are going to feel thrown by the change. It’s important that they know that both parents will still play their individual roles in their lives and will be there for them. You may want to discuss options such as when the kids will spend time where and be ready with answers to any other questions that they may ask.
Make the Effort
You may feel like you have a lot going on, but you still need to dedicate time and effort to your kids. This means making sure that they are still in a routine, know when they’re seeing you, know when they’re seeing the other parent and that this is all delivered with consistency.
Of course, divorce is hard. But you do need to make sure that you take steps to make it easier for your kids when they’re during it!