Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Focusing on the Children Throughout the Divorce Process

Divorce is a brutal experience for all parties involved especially for your children.  So many different issues will hold feelings for your children that will forever change how they feel about themselves, the two of you as a couple, as individuals and of course the entire family unit.  It will not matter how old they are when you decide that a divorce is eminent, a divorce will be hard to understand.  Many children continue to hold on to fantasies of reconciliation.  

You often times have children who feel responsible for their parents marital demise.  If filing for a divorce comes after a family blow up this is especially true.  Kids take situations that involve them and begin to analyze how their involvement was the start of conflict between their parents.  As illogical this is to us as adults for them it is very real.  Children believe if they behaved differently they could have in turn prevented their parent’s marriage from falling apart.  One of the best things you can do for your children throughout your divorce and well after is allowing them to meet and talk with a professional.  Some divorce lawyers have in-house therapists that assist both parents and children through the divorce process.

Below are some tips on making your divorce easier on your children; children that are the best piece of the two of you together.  This is important to remember no matter how much hostility you are feeling.

Breaking News of the Divorce to the Kids
Prepare yourself when breaking the news to your children.  It will be incredibly emotional for all of you.  A clear, kid friendly version of what happened to cause the split as well as clear expectations of the events to come should be where you begin with your children.  They are so much smarter and intuitive than we give them credit for.  Listen to them; sometimes all they want is to be heard.  

Don’t Make Them Feel Like They Have to Choose
Children are so impressionable.  Remember their lives are being turned upside down as is yours. Don’t allow your children to be put in the middle of your issues.  They should never be asked to choose sides.  This will only create undue pressure.  Children should never have to decide who is right or wrong in the chaos that they are experiencing. 

Badmouthing your Partner is an Absolute Don’t
It does not matter how you feel never ever express your negative feelings about your partner in front of your children.  The two of you will forever be working together in their best interest. There will be birthday parties, homecomings, proms, plays, graduations, weddings and life in general happening after the divorce that will involve you both.  Your children will always see the two of you as the best mom and dad ever and should never have to experience any feeling other than that. When there is a conflict on how one of you is addressing situations that arise with the kids that should be discussed in private away from the kids.

Be Truthful In All Interactions
Kids don’t necessarily have to understand everything that is happening in the divorce however there is no reason that anything but clear explanations are given.  Don’t create a fantasy explanation.  Just tell your children the truth up to the point that they can handle.  Forgo the details when not important. 

Listen and Allow Them to Talk
They have feeling that should be considered throughout the divorce.  It is emotional for you and your ex as well but for them they are not in control of any of it.  This is where you come in.  As the adult listen to them without defending yourself, listening to them and their insecurities and offer only an ear and a shoulder to lean on. 

Kids go through the divorce process right alongside of their parents.  Remain strong with them and have your own support system of adults that you can lean on.  Don’t use your kids to support your divorce campaign.  They don’t see it as right and wrong.  Divorce is not a black and white issue when it comes to your children.  Never depend on your children; they are to know at all times that you are the strong one and that they can depend on you.