Divorce can be hard on children, but it can be made easier by the way you handle things. You have a great deal of control over how your kids are affected by a divorce, so use that control to make things easier for them rather than more difficult.
Remember that Kids Are Kids
Children should not be faced with adult problems. Try to remember that although your feelings about your ex are strong, your children should not have to share them. For one thing, your ex is also their parent; for another, children are not ready to handle the difficult emotions surrounding a divorce.
This means that you should avoid talking to your children about your ex as much as possible. If you must say anything, try to keep it very neutral. A good habit to develop is repeating back what your children ask but neutralizing it when you do so. For example, if your child asks, “Why is mom always sad?” You could repeat, “Your mom may be sad for a lot of reasons, but it’s great that you are there to help her be happy, isn’t it?” This deflects the question and gives the child a positive way to interact with the other parent.
Naturally, this can be very hard, especially if you believe your ex is responsible for the divorce. However, you must keep in mind that your children are innocent victims in this process and should not have to suffer because the adults are having problems.
Do Not Play The Blame Game
The “Blame Game” is probably responsible for more childhood misery associated with divorce than any other single factor. Given time, children will usually adjust to the realities of a divorce situation; however, they may not adjust so easily to hearing their parents constantly insult each other and try to get the children to agree when they do.
There are a few hard truths that you need to realize, no matter who “started” the divorce. Your children love you both, even if they are upset about the other parent’s actions. You will accomplish no good and may cause irreparable harm by trying to force your child to agree that your ex is a “bad” person. Further, you need to understand that putting your ex down to your child will always come back to haunt you, even if you are not technically in the wrong. Finally, you should understand that loving your children means allowing them to love the other parent, even if that is painful for you.
What can you do instead of being negative? Love your child enough to build him or her up and encourage a good relationship with the other parent whenever possible.
If you are struggling with divorce or custody issues, contact the attorneys at the Men’s Legal Center for help.