Anyone who has been through the rigors of divorce knows how emotionally and physically difficult a time it can be. Often, we forget about the effect it is having on the children who can sometimes believe that they are somehow to blame. It is important for the children to receive appropriate help during this stressful time and to be assured that they are not at fault and that both parents still love them very much.
As hard as it may be at the time, both parents need to be civil toward one another and work out an arrangement that is in the best interests of the children while still allowing the parents to meet their own needs as well. It is far better to do this yourselves than to put everyone through the distress of a court and having an arbitrary decision made for you.
This is a time when both parents need to work together to help the children. Even if one parent fails to honour their commitment to help the children, the other parent still needs to do the best they can to be responsible in this situation.
You should not keep the divorce a secret from the children. You need to tell them when you make your decision and what is going to happen. Try to give them at least a little bit of notice before the parent moves out so that the child can have the time to deal with it and ask questions. Reassure the child that both parents are still going to be there for them and that nothing has changed in that sense. If the children are young, weave some fun into a sad situation and tell them that now they will have 2 houses.
Avoid playing the blame game when talking to the children. Putting the other parent down leads to insecurity on the part of the children. They need to know that both parents are still able to be trusted and depended upon. Let them know that it was a mutual decision and that you both did your best to avoid this ending.
Make your child aware that they are not going to be able to get the both of you back together. Tell them that there is nothing that they can do to make the situation go away. Also make it clear to them where they are going to live and that they can see the other parent any time they want to. You can tell them that there may be some changes in that later on, but it is not going to affect their relationship. Give them the opportunity to ask you any questions that they may have for you both.
An important factor is your reactions in front of the children. It’s easy to display negative emotions when facing divorce but the children can do without the extra upset. They need to feel safe and secure in the knowledge that both parents love them and don’t want to upset them in any way.
You should never fight with the other parent in front of the children. This will be very disturbing to the children and may cause them to be fearful of what may happen in the future. You should not speak badly about the other parent either. You have to be very careful not to call the other parent names or talk negatively about anything that they have done.
Never keep the children away from the other parent unless they are in danger of anything. You should let the children see the parent when they feel the need to. Let them know that they can call them anytime and you will be happy to drive them to see you’re soon to ex spouse’s residence any time that they want.
Never forget your responsibility to the children. To continue to be a good parent, even if you do not have custody, means communicating with them. Despite the fact that divorce can be very traumatic for parents, you need to keep up your strength for the sake of the children.
Don’t shower them with money and gifts but give them your time. That is the most important thing at this time. Don’t make promises if you can’t keep them and never, never abandon them, either physically or emotionally.
If you think that the child needs to have therapy, you should make the necessary arrangements. If they need to talk to a professional let them, as this is going to help a child in the long run. It is crucial to the children to be able to discuss their feelings and to be reassured that they have nothing to worry about concerning the divorce. It is nothing to be ashamed of and the child should be made to feel comfortable about all that is going on around them.