Divorce is often a difficult and challenging time for anyone, but when you have children, you have to consider not only your emotional well-being, but theirs as well. It can be difficult to maintain emotional balance during a divorce while providing a constant, stable and reassuring presence for your children at the same time.
Despite the challenges of moving through a divorce with your children, many people do so successfully every day. There are some proven strategies that can help you weather this period together with your children in a way that will help them, and you, build resilience and trust.
1. Be open and honest
For many parents, the urge to protect and shelter their children from the emotional highs and lows of divorce is a natural instinct. While it is healthy to keep your children out of the discussions surrounding the logistics of the divorce, you should not isolate them from the process. They likely have many questions about what is happening, and it is psychologically healthy for you to give them an outlet to ask questions and get answers. Your responses do not have to be lengthy and detailed, but rather open and honest in a way that is age-appropriate.
2. Refrain from bad-mouthing your ex
Although divorce can bring up strong feelings of resentment, anger and frustration, it is important for you to keep these feelings in check when it comes to talking about the divorce and your ex with your children. Always keep in mind that your son or daughter does not see your ex the way you do, but rather as her or his other parent. In fact, avoiding a contentious divorce can be a huge plus when it comes to your children’s well-being.
3. Let your children express themselves
Your children should feel safe in talking with you about their feelings regarding the divorce. Although it can be painful to see your children suffer, do not try to prevent them from showing their own feelings, such as anger or frustration. Keep in mind that acting out may simply be a cry for help and support on their part. Your compassion and reassurance can go a long way in ensuring that your children make it through your divorce successfully and come out stronger on the other side.