One of the most challenging aspects of filing for divorce is telling your children your decision. Especially as your children may have no idea that you’ve been going through spousal issues and may be under the impression that you’re still in love with your spouse. If you’re searching for tips that will help you support your children through your divorce, simply continue reading.
How To Help Your Children Through A Divorce
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Ensure That Your Kids Know That They Are Loved
Unfortunately, many kids blame themselves for their parents’ divorce and falsely believe that their parents have chosen to get a divorce because they have done something wrong. For this reason, it’s crucial to sit down with your kids and explain to them that your decision to get divorced is completely unrelated to your love for them. Be intentional about reminding them that parents don’t get divorced from their kids and that you will continue to love them.
Keep in mind that patience and reassurance from you can help minimize distress while going through this difficult time. Be mindful of the fact that your divorce could actually be harder on your children than it is on you. After all, a child’s home environment is directly linked to their sense of security and many children feel as if their whole world is falling apart when their parents decide to file for divorce.
Don’t Try To Predict Your Kids’ Emotions
Each child will deal with the news that their parents are getting divorced differently. For example, if you have two children one may become depressed and withdrawn while the other may act out in anger. Make sure to validate their emotions as well. Let them know that what they are feeling is normal and expected, and listen to them as best as you can.
Provide a space for them to be honest about their feelings without taking them personally. The whole family is going through a big life change, and emotions can feel complicated. By giving them a space to talk about their feelings, you will fortify the bond that you have. If you treat your kids with love and compassion, your kids will grow up well adjusted and will thrive after your divorce.
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Spend One On One Time With Each Of Your Kids
One excellent way to strengthen the bonds that you already share with your kids is to ensure that you spend one on one time with each of your kids. During which your kids may open up to you about their feelings regarding your divorce. Even if your kids just want to have fun with you and don’t want to talk in-depth about their feelings, the time you spend together will bring joy to their lives and will help them feel safe, secure, and loved.
It’s a great idea to create fun traditions with each of your kids. For example, you may want to take one of your kids to the swimming pool once every two weeks to spend quality one-on-one time together. Just be sure to select activities that each kid enjoys.
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Explain To Your Kids Why Filing For Divorce Is The Healthiest Option For Your Family
It’s well worth explaining to your kids why your decision to divorce is the healthiest option for your family. As an example, you may want to tell your children that you’d love for them to grow up in a happy, low-stress environment and that you’re currently unhappy or stressed out in your marriage.
Provide Your Children With Stability
Stability is also key for helping your children through a divorce. There is a lot changing in their lives, and making sure to keep a set routine is important. Your children will feel more secure if they know what to expect. Routine will also let your child know that rules and discipline will remain the same, even during a divorce. Don’t try to replace the other parent with monetary items, or allow the rules to relax. By maintaining a structure, you will help your child adjust to the new life.
If possible, create a routine for your kids which will allow them to spend time with your ex-spouse and yourself on a regular basis. For example, you may decide that it’s best to each take care of your kids for a week each and to alternate the weeks that you spend with your children. Or you may agree for your kids to spend every second weekend with your ex-spouse.
Try To Avoid Being Overly Critical About Your Ex-Spouse Around Your Children
Even if your soon-to-be ex-spouse has put you through a lot of emotional grief and it can be tempting to bad mouth your ex-spouse to your children, being overly negative about your ex-spouse can be distressing to your kids. Keep in mind that your kids share half their genetics with your ex-spouse and are likely to feel personally attacked if you speak negatively about their other parent.
However, if your ex-spouse was emotionally or physically abusive to you or your children, it’s okay to protect your children by attempting to seek full custody of your children. As at the end of the day, your children’s safety and wellbeing should be your number one priority.
Don’t Try To Compete With Your Ex-Spouse For Your Kids’ Affection
Know that your children can love both of their parents equally and that you should never resort to competing for your kids’ affection by trying to spoil your children or purchase their love with expensive gifts such as toys.
Be Mindful When It Comes To Introducing Your Children To New Partners
Whether you are open to finding a new partner in the near future or you would prefer to focus on finding your independence again and spending quality time with your kids, it’s critical to be mindful when it comes to introducing a new partner to your children. Due to the fact that kids thrive in stable environments and are likely to be adversely affected if they are introduced to partners who are only in your life for a short period of time.
You may want to wait several months to ensure that any new relationships you may pursue have long-term potential before choosing to introduce a new partner to your kids. It’s a great idea to ensure that your next partner likes children and has the right personality traits to help you raise your children in a happy, healthy home environment.
If you still have a friendly relationship with your soon-to-be ex-spouse, it’s also worth talking to them to ensure that they understand the importance of being mindful about introducing a future partner to your kids as well. For example, you may both agree that you’ll only introduce serious partners to your children.
Take Exemplary Care Of Yourself
Even though your family is going through a particularly challenging period, it’s important to carve out time to take proper care of yourself. Keep in mind that children are intuitive and are aware when their parents are upset, so the best thing you can do for your children is to take care of yourself first.
If you are healthy and dealing with your emotions in a positive way, you will model this behavior for your kids, and they’ll be able to follow your example. Take a break and have fun with your children. See a therapist or write in a journal and ensure to spend time with your close friends and family members. These are good ways to show your children that your divorce isn’t the end of the world.
In fact, it will be much easier for your kids to see your divorce in a more positive light if they see that you are a lot happier and healthier being single than you were when you were married to their other parent. Even if your children are distraught about your divorce in the beginning, with time your children will be able to see why your divorce was the right choice. Not just for you but for their whole family.
Consider Seeing A Professional Therapist
If you’re emotionally struggling with the reality of your failed marriage and wish to express your thoughts and emotions in a safe, non-judgmental environment, it’s well worth booking your first appointment with a professional therapist. Remember that the key to therapy is to find a therapist who is easy to talk to and who you feel comfortable sharing your innermost thoughts. If you don’t feel comfortable talking to the first therapist who you visit, it’s perfectly okay to search for a new therapist.
Depending on the ages of your children and their reaction to your divorce, you may also want to consider therapy for your children. However, be careful about not forcing therapy on children who are resistant to the idea and may resent you for forcing them to see a therapist. Instead, talk to your children about how therapy has positively impacted your life and if they express interest in talking to a therapist, start searching for a family therapist who has plenty of experience dealing with children.
Divorce doesn’t have to be scary, and you don’t have to do it alone. If you are looking into getting a divorce, you want someone who is going to be on your side. Connect with us at The Law Offices of Charlotte Christian and Associates Firm to find an attorney that will go to bat for you both in and out of court. We will fight for you. Experience the Charlotte Christian difference. Connect with us by phone at (256) 769-0508, or online at charlottechristianlaw.com. As we’d love to hear from you.