Divorce is not easy; this is the understatement of the year! All people in a family are affected by a divorce. Spouses, children, in-laws, everyone is affected to some degree. For children the divorce of their parents is often a very traumatic experience no matter how smooth the transition and no matter how old children are. It is hard for children to understand and come to terms with the fact that the two people they love are now going to be divorce.
Children often feel at fault or to blame when their parents separate. Often, this makes little sense to adults however children find a way to associate everything back to them and see fault. Kids going through a parents’ divorce struggle to find ways to prevent the divorce. The “what ifs” and “if I did this” keep running through children’s minds.
As parents we are struggling with the impending divorce as well. We worry about our finances, about becoming single again and about the next step. It is often hard to remember that you aren’t the only person worried about all of this. Children are notorious worriers about things that they have little to no control over. As parent’s going through a divorce it is our job to alleviate and manage the burden felt by our children as we sort out the bigger issues.
The first crucial moment for children is when their parents sit down to tell them that they are indeed going to get a divorce. Breaking this news is heartbreaking as well as difficult. Don’t ever break the news of an impending divorce, to children, in the heat of the moment. It should be a time when you come together as a family to properly explain what is happening and why. The better prepared you are for this step the less misunderstandings and worry there will be for your children.
These are you children together and it is important for both parents to remember this. Children are incredibly impressionable and no matter what the reason is for the divorce all children see is how much they love both of you. They will have a hard time seeing why the two of you no longer love one another. It is so crucial that as a family unit, time is taken to explain this. Also take the worry and anxiousness out of the situation by explaining in detail the next step, where will everyone be living, what is happening and when it will happen.
The issue of child custody and child support will arise throughout the process, this is inevitable. Don’t burden your children with this. Work to come to a consensus with your partner and if this is not possible the judge in the case will make arrangements based on the information provided to make sure your children are as affected as minimally as possible in the given situation.
Although through the divorce you may have ill-will towards your partner this is not anything that should be expressed in front of your children. They are your children together and they love you both equally. Children are not a pawn and should not be used as one. To do so is irresponsible and harmful to them. Nothing good comes from putting your children in the middle of any argument you are having.
As always be clear with your children. No matter how old they are there is a way to convey information about the situation in an age appropriate manner. As parents this is your obligation to them. Your children will thank you as they grow for making the process less burdensome on them. They will see the world and will appreciate the manner in which you proceeded to handle the difficulties of divorce when you are honest in your communication with them.