Going through a divorce is never a pleasant experience. No matter how well you used to get along and how in love you used to be, sometimes it’s best to move on and keep on living without your spouse. Divorces aren’t always messy, difficult, and traumatic, but they most certainly are for the children, especially if they are young. Kids don’t always understand the reasons behind the divorce of their parents, which makes the whole process much more painful for them. However, there are ways for you to protect your child and make sure they don’t suffer because of your divorce.
Be honest and open
Be together when you tell your children that you’re getting a divorce. Do it calmly and without much fuss, and be prepared to answer any questions they might have. Don’t shout or yell, and don’t try to keep it a secret – explain that you’re getting a divorce in a straightforward manner. Explain the reasons for your divorce in a way that they can understand, and tell them that you believe it would be for the best if you and your spouse didn’t live together anymore. Tell them that you’re no longer happy together and that you hope this separation will help, but assure them (and keep reassuring them) that both of you love them very, very much and that the divorce won’t change how you feel about them.
Don’t keep quiet
Kids will go through a lot during the divorce, and it’s likely that they’ll feel overwhelmed and confused. You should explain to them that feeling sad, angry, or frustrated is completely normal, and that they shouldn’t suppress their emotions. There are no bad feelings, only bad ways of dealing with them. Encourage them to open up to you or your spouse whenever they feel a certain way, because they should feel safe to talk to you about it. Accept any feelings they express and show them that they can trust you. Tell them that they aren’t bothering you when they want to talk, because there will be children who will try to ‘spare’ you, and that will only make it harder for them to cope with their feelings.
Try to keep the peace
Kids can sense the tension in you and in return, they will feel anxious too. There are even parents who avoid visiting their children because they fear that their ex-spouse has been talking bad things about them and they don’t want to deal with that, or because they don’t want to see their ex at all. This is bad for both you and your children, and if you just can't handle the conflict when you meet your former spouse, consult experienced family lawyers about the best way to resolve the situation. When both sides are acting mature, it’s much easier to keep the peace and help your child adjust to the situation.
Never get nasty
It’s not just children who can get sad and bitter. It’s difficult to keep your dignity and a clear mind, especially if you’re still mad at your ex-spouse. This can result in you telling your children bad things about their other parent, which can have terrible consequence s on their psyche. Even if it’s difficult for you, avoid talking badly about your ex-spouse and avoid blaming them (even if you think that it is entirely their fault). Children are still growing and maturing; they love both of you deeply and need you both in their life. They will form their own opinion with time, but they shouldn’t distance themselves from either parent.
Divorces are common, and there are dozens of thousands of kids all over the world who experience the stress of divorce every year. Sometimes, they are old and mature enough to understand that getting a divorce is a better solution than staying in a dysfunctional marriage, but the initial reactions are usually those of immense shock, deep sadness, as well as frustration and anger. Help your child go through your divorce and make sure they cope with their feelings in the right way.