Protecting Your Children From Your Divorce
Any child going through a divorce is going to experience some emotional pain, feelings of loss, sadness, frustration and possibly abandonment or rejection. As parents it is important to help children through this difficult time in their lives and to protect them as much as possible from the divorce process itself, as well as the changes that will occur, both now and in the future. As a parent there are several things that you can do to help your children get through the divorce with as little difficulty as possible. Both parents working together on this goal can make it even easier for the children. Love Children at this time need even more love from parents than they did prior to the divorce. This means telling your children every chance to get that you love them, think of them often, and will always be there for them.
Try spending some extra one-on-one time with your kids and encourage them to talk about their concerns or fears. Support and security Just like love, kids need to feel that they are supported, secure and safe during the divorce. Often children feel very insecure about their relationship with one or both of the parents, and may feel that the parent that moves out of the house has rejected them. Talk to the children about the divorce, and explain that both parents will still be very involved in their lives. Show children your support and commitment to them by being there, and following through on any plans or events.
Children may also feel that the custodial parent may not have the financial means to support them, especially if money is an issue in the divorce or in the disagreements leading up to the divorce. Assure your children that you have this under control. Children should not feel concern over financial affairs; they need to know that Mom and Dad have this handled. Avoid conflict Children need to see that Mom and Dad still can work together to be good parents. Kids should never be exposed to fighting, negative comments about the other parent, or conflict between parents. If you have a high-conflict situation try exchanging the children at a neutral spot like a restaurant, or perhaps leave the children with a friend and have the other parent pick them up there so you don't have to meet face to face. It is critical that children not be exposed to the stress and anxiety of parental conflict. Extended family Talk to your extended families to make sure that they are following the same expectations for providing love, support, and only positive comments. Encourage your children to talk to other family members about the divorce if they feel comfortable with this. Set a routine and schedule As soon as possible set a schedule for children to spend time with both parents.
Try to stick to the schedule as much as possible as this allows the children to plan for times with both parents, and to feel a part of both parents' lives. Be consistent Try to set similar expectations for chores, discipline and daily routines in both Mom's house and Dad's house. This is particularly important if you have younger children, as they will adjust to spending time in both homes much quicker if they are consistent.