Divorce is traumatic for children. They are witnessing a major disruption to the normalcy of their lives. Even if your relationship with your spouse was full of conflict, the prospect of not living together as a family is still traumatic for kids. These tips on how to help your kids get through your messy divorce may help you ease the pain for your children.
Maintain a Routine
If ever there was a time to put your children’s needs first, divorce is it. Do whatever you have to do to maintain consistency in every other part of your children’s lives. Drive them to their practices and rehearsals, attend their concerts, and sign the permission slips for school outings. Make sure your kids can count on familiar routines outside the house that will now belong to just one parent.
Resist Blaming Your Spouse
Perhaps your mate cheated on you or squandered money. Maybe they flaunted their affair, and everyone in your circle knew about it before you did. That’s hard to swallow, but you must stifle the urge to blame your soon-to-be-ex in front of the kids.
Keep your explanations about what is happening short and to the point. Don’t lie to your kids, but don’t give all the gory details, either. Just say that you and your spouse have realized you can’t live happily with each other anymore, but nothing can affect the love you have for your kids.
Don’t Put Your Kids in the Middle
Don’t play telephone using your kids as a means of communication with your soon-to-be-ex. Be a grown-up about it and communicate with your spouse on divorce matters out of range of the kids’ hearing.
If you disagree about the elements of the divorce agreement, hire a divorce lawyer or child support attorney who will represent you. This is especially important if you anticipate a fight over property division, child custody, or child support arrangements.
Don’t interfere with your children’s communication with your ex, even if it drives you up a wall. The only time to do this is if your ex has proven to be abusive, emotionally manipulative, or impaired by substance abuse. In such a case, you can ask the court to award you sole custody.
Getting your kids through a messy divorce with minimum emotional trauma is your responsibility as a parent. The main goal is to ensure your kids know that nothing can separate them from your love and that you will always be their parent, regardless of whether you and your partner live together.