Depending on the age of your children, a separation or divorce can be a very traumatizing. In infants and extremely young children the change is less disruptive, but for older children it can be a horrible situation to watch your parents relationship dissolve. If you have recently separated and have children, here are some ways that you can ease the stress caused to your children throughout the process.
1. Don’t fight in front of them
This may seem like a no-brainer, but it is more difficult to achieve than you may think. There are reasons you are getting a divorce and whatever those reasons are can easily lead to fights. Try to remember that your children are innocent and absolutely should not be subjected to any negativity. Heated discussions are likely to arise from time to time, especially when still living together, but control yourselves as much as possible when the kids are home.
2. Listen to your children
Although your children are young, they have valid emotions. It’s important that you take the time to acknowledge what they are feeling and discuss the situation with them on their level. Expect that they will act out and behave differently during the process, because divorce is not something that they readily understand. Have discussions about how they feel and how you can make them feel better and adjust to the new way of life.
3. Consistency is key
Once the children have their lives turned upside down by mom and dad no longer living together, establish a routine right away and stick to it. Don’t be late to pick your kid up if it’s your turn to do so, don’t cancel plans you have with them and make them feel unwanted or unappreciated. Be as consistent as possible and show them that life can still be happy and healthy even though new living arrangements are in place.
4. Remember to take care of yourself
Divorce is difficult, and for some it may be unwanted. But for the sake of the children, try not to fall apart in front of them. Do whatever you need to do to live a healthy life once the divorce proceedings have begun and provide a positive environment for your children. Seek counselling if you need help dealing with the divorce, there is no shame in that, and be sure that you are ok and well enough to take care of your children properly.
5. Stay involved
Just because you are no longer a couple, that doesn’t mean that you can’t attend the same soccer game or piano recital. Learn how to be in the same room with your ex in such a way that allows you both to be involved your children’s lives. It’s important that the children know you still care about them and they are forever loved.
Remember that divorce is difficult for the whole family, and recognize that your children are always watching and feel the emotions you put out.