Published On: Fri, Oct 11th, 2013

Divorce And The Kids

Divorce and the KidsDivorce is a very painful life transition for many people. When children are involved, it becomes even more challenging. Most parents agonize over the impact of a divorce upon their children. Fortunately, there are some measures you can take to ease this transition and protect your children from some of the uglier emotional aspects of the process. Here are 4 ways to protect your children emotionally as you navigate your divorce:

1. Do not badmouth your spouse in the presence of your children. As difficult as it may be to refrain from making comments out of your own hurt, anger, or betrayal, do not put the burden of your emotions upon your children. It is true that your intimate relationship with their other parent is ending, but their relationship with him or her is separate and continues on. Spare your kids the agony of feeling as if they cannot talk to you about their other parent, and the decision of whose “side” to take.

2. Do not take all the responsibility and apologize for the divorce. If you have left a marriage that was abusive, where there was drug and alcohol abuse, or rampant infidelity, you divorced in order to save yourself and make yourself more emotionally available to your children. Leaving in this case was not a bad thing, and should not be conveyed as such. By apologising, you are setting yourself in the position of taking blame.

3. Do honor your children’s emotions. They are being profoundly affected by a decision they had no say in.  Be sure to be sensitive to this. While you are not apologising or attempting to “fix” their emotions for them, you can validate and mirror back what they are saying so they know that their emotions are important and understood. You may say something like, “What I hear you saying is that you are hurt and angry that this is happening.”

4. Offer age-appropriate truth. You do not need to give young children details of your spouse’s affairs, for example, but you can offer information. If your children want to know why the divorce is taking place, you can truthfully answer, “Your father (or mother) and I have found that we are a much better mummy or daddy when we live apart.” If you have any questions as to how or what to say to your children, consult with a counsellor to determine what is appropriate given your children’s ages and your individual circumstances.

By Shannon E. Cook

Shannon CookShannon Cook, a personal growth & relationship expert who has written a number of articles & ebooks on the topic of toxic relationships & holistic personal growth, including physical, emotional & relationship health.  Divorce & Kids 4 Ways to Protect Emotionally During Divorce. Need help in addressing your life challenges from a holistic standpoint, assessing physical, emotional, & relationship components? Free ebook, “Natural Methods To Fight Depression”.

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