Nothing is more important during your divorce than the well-being of your children. If you feel overcome by stress as an adult, you can imagine their sense of helplessness.
Fortunately, strategies are available for helping your children handle the trauma of divorce. It is possible to shield them from most of the emotional and mental ordeal.
Talk and listen to your children
It is important that your children share their feelings about your divorce. Let them know that whatever they are feeling, whether positive or negative, is normal, and thank them for their honesty.
Also assure them that you are willing and available to discuss and related issues with them at any time. Prepare yourself as much as possible to answer their questions.
However, do not attempt to “solve” their problems or try to talk them into changing the way that they feel. They have a right to feel the way they do — the same as you.
Set an example for your children
One of the biggest taboos is bad-mouthing your spouse in front of your children, no matter what. Without realizing it, you may be pressuring your child to take sides, which adds to their stress. It could reinforce any guilt they feel about their perceived role in the family drama.
In a similar vein, do not give your children a role to play in your divorce. Do not ask them to deliver messages to your partner, and never ask them to “spy” on your behalf.
Whenever possible, communicate one-on-one with your ex yourself. An amicable adult relationship with your former partner is good for your children to witness.
Look toward a happy future for your children
Divorce is an obvious strain on everyone. Make it your job to lessen the impact on your children by putting their interests first.
At the same time, do not forget to take care of yourself. It is not selfish to indulge yourself once in a while to lighten the load. Keeping a positive attitude sends a strong emotional message to your children.