So you’ve decided to get a divorce. Now what? How can you make it easier on your kids?
No doubt you never planned for your marriage to end this way. No one does. Your kids never thought of it ending this way easier. They have probably noticed the fighting that’s been going on. Perhaps they notice one or both you don’t smile as much as you did before. They probably already know “something’s going on.” This could be a real game changer for them. The one thing that is solid, the family unit, is about to be busted up.
They’ve likely heard some of their friends at school talking about their moms and dads when they went through the same thing. Your main goal (as the parent) is to provide certainly for your kids; to reassure them that your love for them is as strong as ever. Let them know that your family is still just that: a FAMILY.
Do you need to tell the WHY of the divorce?
There are almost an endless list of reasons that couples divorce. Sometimes its just the financial stresses of life. Sometimes one of the parties have simply changed to the extent that its no longer possible for them to get along. Often, unfortunately, there’s addictive behavior, like excess drinking, drug addiction and even sexual addiction.
The decision about sharing the “why” of the divorce will in significant part depend on the ages of your children. You will have to gauge their maturity level. It’s likely better not to share too much of the why if your children are younger than 12. At these ages, they probably aren’t ready to process the variety of struggles that couples have. Perhaps you can share more details later.
However, if you children are teens, understand that they may believe that that their parents divorce is because of them, or something they’ve done. Remember that you are the adult here. You should reassure them that the problems are between you and your mate, and not because of something the child has done or not done.
Guard Against Showing Your Frustrations
Going through a divorce is difficult even under the best circumstances. You’re going to experience emotions that may be foreign to you and will likely have times of great intensity. Often a divorce brings out the very worse in people. It’s easy to see why you would become sad and frustrated with your mate. You’ll likely feel like you’ve been abandoned, and are no longer loveable.
Just be aware that these emotions are normal for the circumstance.
But don’t wear these emotions in your actions and interactions with your children. They are feeling some of the same emotions at a time when they are likely not mature enough to process them.
Just keep in mind that you will always be your children’s parent. A divorce simply changes the relationship between their mom and dad.
Explain a Change in Living Arrangements
Living arrangements are going to change as a result of the marital split. It may also impact where the kids sleep and where they ultimately live. When the time is right you’ll want to let them know that there may be some changes. Normally, you’d expect them to spend time with both parents. Let them know that when they are with the other parent, you will be alright, but you’ll miss them. They want to know this because they are concerned about you.
As you walk down this path before long everyone will get into a new routine. Your family will adapt to the changes. The main thing is to let your kids know that you are always there for them and will never abandon them. Abandonment is one of the biggest concerns that children have.