When dealing with children and divorce, studies have shown that children of a divorce suffer the most. It can have a devastating impact on their emotional, mental and even physical well being. That's why you have to do all that you can to help your children achieve stability and cope with a divorce. The process is on-going and extends well beyond the first few years after a divorce. You can take steps to make each passing year better than the previous one in terms of how they handle the breakup of their family. Here's how:
Don't Fight with Your Ex in Front of the Children
One of the most traumatic experiences for children of divorce is ongoing conflict with you and your spouse. It destabilizes their environment that much more, and keeps them in fear that the next horrible shoe is about to drop. Come to an agreement with your spouse to resolve your disputes alone, and out of the presence of your children. If having a third party present when you meet is necessary to achieve this goal, then arrange someone to mediate or at least be present.
Don't Put Your Spouse against Your Children
You may have divorced your husband, but the children did not divorce their father. In most cases, it's important to do what you can to help maintain a bond between the children and their dad. Don't trash their father to them or in their presence, or try to cause them to dislike their dad. In cases where safety is an issue, whether to you or your children, then this rule does not apply.
Keep as Much Routine as Possible
The last thing that children of divorce need is a huge disruption in their routine. It can be hard to avoid if you have to move away, out of your home, change your work-at-home business or take on a part-time or full time position. Do the best that you can to keep the same routine going for your children, even it means making adapting to new ways to do the same things. For example, if they were taking piano lessons prior to the divorce, try to keep those lessons going after the divorce, even if you have to hire a new teacher. Your finances may be limited, but try to make keeping your children on a familiar and regular routine a priority.
Listen and Answer Questions
Talking to your children about the divorce or about your spouse may be very painful to you, but it can be helpful to your children's healing process. Make extra efforts to be available to listen to your children, especially during the first year following the divorce. Answer their questions when appropriate, and share information that's reasonable for their age and emotional ability. Resist the temptation to hide in your work, or to avoid your children when they need to talk about it because it's painful.
Get the support you need to help you work through the hurt of a divorce as well as to help your children with the divorce. Achieving stability takes time, but fighting for your children's emotional and mental health is worth it.
Daphne Mallory, Esq. is the co-owner of Mallory Writing Services and has written more than 100 articles helping home based business owners and entrepreneurs start and market their business.