Survive a Divorce with Children Survive a Divorce with Children
Divorce is the dissolution of a marriage, but the dissolution of common sense does not have to go along with it. Whether you are the party initiating the divorce proceedings or not, divorce is going to take its toll on you. In fact, the children with their vulnerability are probably going to feel the impact for the longest.
Fortunately, several strategies exist that you can follow to help guide you and your family through this difficult time. Simply try to incorporate as many of these as possible from the beginning to minimize emotional stress on everyone.
• Remember first and foremost that you are human and that you are going to make mistakes. Simply own up to them to yourself and to the people involved.
• Think first before reacting. People often suggest counting to ten because it gives you a chance to cool down and think rationally. You will need to do a lot of that now. Think before you respond or react to situations or comments. Responding in a calm manner can circumvent trouble and lead to better results.
• Think about your children’s needs whenever possible. Children are more susceptible to hurt and whatever they experience now is sure to follow them around for a long time to come.
• Realize that some things cannot be changed and accept them. Once you accept the inevitable, you will be able to respond more calmly and rationally. This too will pass.
• Put up a good front, especially when dealing with your children. If they cannot rely on you now, then they are lost. Realize that your children have just had the rug of stability pulled out from under them and you need to find a way to replace it. Providing a positive outlook for them will help with this.
• Allow yourself time to reminisce about the good times when you feel up to it. This will help to keep the anger and regret away from your thoughts. Life goes on so take the positive from the marriage experience and forget about the negative.
• Allow yourself and your children time to recuperate from this upheaval of your lives. Readjustment to a new routine and new surroundings, even if the only difference is one less parent, takes time. Don’t expect too much from the children or yourself all at once.
• Explain to your children that the divorce is not their fault. Provide some kind of reasoning that does not put either you or your spouse in a terrible light before their eyes. Children need something more than “it is not your fault” before they will be able to accept that statement.
• Even if you cannot let go of your anger and resentment toward your ex, do not let the children see it in your body posture, mannerisms, or speech. Remember not to talk in a negative manner on the telephone or cell phone when your children are with on hearing range. Just because you aren’t talking to them, does not meant that they won’t listen.
• Try to ease into the changes that need to be incorporated into the children’s routine. Sacrifice your needs before theirs occasionally, if necessary.
• The only good pawn is the one in a chess game. Never stick your child in the middle. Never force your child to choose between you and your ex. Never ask your children to spy for you on your ex. Try not to ask too many questions about their visit or stay with their other parent. After all, your only concern should be whether your child was well taken care of while there.
• If finances are strained, talk to your children about it in a light conversation that allows them to understand that money is an issue. If choices have to be made, allow your children to help in the decision making process. Maybe they are willing to give up something because they no longer have an interest in it. It is better to have the children do without something that they select to do without than to make all of the choices for them.
• Remember that you still have to be the parent. You still have children to raise and changing your rules and guidelines now because you feel guilty isn’t the best way to go. Structure and stability allow the child some security in knowing what to expect.
• Be flexible. Realize that bad days are going to occur. Don’t allow them to ruin everything that you have accomplished. Simply recoup and rework the plan.