Divorce is an emotionally devastating time, not only for the adults, but for children as well.
As parents we want to protect our children from any stress, trauma, etc. That is our job! Here are a few simple and commonsense guidelines that may be help you protect your children during divorce.
No doubt, divorce is an extremely emotional time. In fact, it ranks as one of the most stressful experiences in life. Again, it is not only the adults who experience this stress, the children can as well. A certain amount of grief at the ‘death’ of their parents’ relationship is to be expected. However, if parents can put the needs of the children first, that trauma and stress can be minimized. Deciding to cooperate for their sake will help to protect the children’s emotional well-being, will maintain their sense of security and fill their need for unconditional love. Even though the marriage may have broken down, the parental relationship is and should be ’till death do us part’.
Child counselors often emphasize that children need lasting and secure relationships with both parents. I agree. Ideally, the relationship of the parents should be civil and cooperative, if it is hard to be civil, then at the very minimum keep it business-like for the sake of the children. Children should not be subjected to adult issues or adult emotions. They should never hear hostility toward a parent or negative statements about either parent.
There will always be things that parents need to discuss about the children. For example, education, medical, religious, and moral issues that concern the children’s well-being need to be dealt with and discussed by both parents. If emotions prohibit calm conversation, there are other ways to communicate, i.e., apps for co-parenting, email and/or text. Any of these can be used to keep the conflict to a minimum, not only for the children, but for the adult too.
Children whose parents are divorcing usually have many questions and worries. Those questions can differ depending on the age of the child/children and/or the stage of the divorce. Try to give compassionate responses that are honest. You don’t have to and shouldn’t discuss everything with your children. Give them just enough to answer their question and comfort them, focus on how their life will look, what the schedule will be, how much they are loved, etc. Don’t discuss the how’s or the why’s of the divorce, it will only confuse them or worse, it can make them feel as though they have to choose a side. If possible, it may be helpful if both parents are able to calmy sit down together and not only field questions, but reiterate that they are loved and it is not their fault. Continue to reassure them of how much they are loved as often as possible. Everyone needs to hear that; children of divorce need it more than ever.
If you need help with finding tools to peacefully co-parent with your former spouse or need support and tools to help you communicate with your children during this difficult time, I can help. You do not have to do this alone.
Give me a call or send me an email to schedule an initial consultation. 916-616-6191 or Lspiers19@yahoo.com There is no cost or obligation for the initial consultation.