It’s not only the married couple that can be hurt by the ending of a marriage. Children, extended family members, and friends can all be affected by divorce. If you and your spouse just can’t seem to get along and you feel that a divorce is imminent, you’re likely very worried about how this event will primarily affect your children. Because children often can’t understand the complexities of a marriage or a divorce, they may feel confused, scared, frustrated, and sad by your news. So to help you make this transition go as smoothly as possible despite your relationship with your spouse or former spouse, here are three tips for helping your children through your messy divorce.
Avoid Placing Blame When Breaking The News
Contemplating speaking to your kids about your divorce can be intimidating. Depending on their ages, you may be unsure how much information to share and which questions to answer regarding the ending of your marriage and how their lives will now be changing. However, KidsHealth.org shares that regardless of the age of your children or their perceived maturity, you should try to leave out blame, anger, or guilt when breaking the news to them. Even if the split was primarily one person’s fault, your children still love both parties and shouldn’t feel required to take sides.
Try Your Best To Be Civil
Splitting apart a marriage often requires a lot of compromise and decisions, especially when there are children involved. And while you may have just had a huge fight with your ex-spouse at your legal meeting just minutes before, when you both meet the kids to switch custody, Holly St. Lifer, a contributor to Parents.com, advises never to fight in front of your kids and to make your interactions involving the rest of the family as civil as possible. Your children can sense when there is tension, so in order for your kids to be as protected from the ugliness of divorce as possible, try to keep your problems with your spouse away from each parent’s relationship with the children.
Give Your Children Time To Grieve
A divorce is a big life change for kids. Different children will react differently to this new set of circumstances. So when this happens, HelpGuide.org recommends giving your child the time they need to grieve. This could mean setting up an appointment to talk to a family counselor or therapist, being a listening ear for them, or allowing them to be upset and angry. Your children need your help and support now more than even, so make sure you’re there for them.
If you are about to get into a messy divorce, use the tips mentioned above to help your kids get through this tough time.