Divorce is a challenging process for both spouses, but it can be especially tricky when you have children. While there are likely to be some rough moments, there are actions both parents can take to make the transition smoother for everyone.
The first step is being open and honest with your kids. Trying to spare their feelings by telling them, “nothing is going to change,” won’t work and may increase their anxiety. It’s crucial to be upfront and let them know that what’s happening is not their fault.
Prioritize the needs of children
Being honest with your kids about their future should be the priority, even if it means that you don’t have all the answers. There are things you can do to help make them feel safe, such as:
- Respecting the other parent: Even if a divorce turns contentious, sharing negative feelings with or in front of children will likely confuse and upset them. Maintain a civil tone when speaking about your ex and never use foul language.
- Protecting your mental health: Divorce is stressful. But to take care of your kids, you need to take care of yourself as well. This could mean finding the time to exercise, or even going to a therapist to manage your emotions.
- Savoring family time: While your family looks different now, it’s essential to make time for family activities, such as having a game night, spending time together at a park, watching a children’s movie together or reading bedtime stories each evening. This lets them know they are still loved and valued.
- Creating new traditions: If it’s possible for both parents to attend a child’s birthday party, it might be easier on your children. However, for holidays like Easter or Christmas, know that things will be different and find new ways to celebrate without trying to compete with the other parent.
Putting your kids first
Part of being honest with your children is leveling with them that the coming months may be difficult, but you will all make it through. By taking a direct approach to divorce and continuing to be involved in their daily activities, you will show them that even though their lives are different, both parents’ love for them will never change.