5 simple rules to help your children get through a divorce

Be Honest.

 

Be as straight forward with your children as possible.Try to sit down with your spouse and your children together and have the conversation jointly.  Communicate directly with your child, while still being age aware. Share the facts with children. Give your children an explanation that they are able to understand, “We are no longer able to get along with each other we are fighting to much so it is best for us to live seperatily .” Make sure to leave out the dirt. Facts also include new living arrangements, school changes, and childcare changes. It is important to help your children understand that you and your spouse are not going to get back together, this is important to eliminate any false hope your children may have. 

 

Listen. 

 

It is important that you listen to your children and their concerns. Acknowledge that their feelings are normal and it is okay to feel sad. Allow there to be an open dialogue in the home about the divorce. Never get frustrated with your children when they share  their feelings. Give your children the opportunity to be honest with you. Let them feel safe with you. It is your job to check in with children to give them a platform to open up. 

 

 

Stop Fighting.

 

Show your children that everything is going to be okay. Never talk negatively about your spouse in front of your children. It is not the children’s place to pick sides do not make them feel like they have to. Do not fight when the children are around, there is no reason for them to be exposed to those issues. During visitation exchanges smile at your spouse, engage in a friendly manner. Show your children that you and your spouse can still be a united front when it comes to parenting. This behavior will help ease your children’s potential anxiety about the divorce and fears about the future. 

 

Tell your children that you love them. 

 

Your children need to know that just because you are no longer in love with your spouse it does not mean that you do not love them. It sounds simple so just do it, say “I love you” as often as possible. This will help your children understand that it is not their fault that you are getting a divorce. Make sure to communicate to your children that the divorce is between yourself and your spouse and that your love has not changed for your children. 

 

Stability and structure.

 

During the divorce it is important that children are given structure which allows them to feel stable. There is already enough change going on your children’s lives during a divorce that it is important that we do not put more on their plate. Try to maintain a similar schedule at both homes, children thrive on structure, remind yourself of that when you are tempted to bend the rules. 

Carla Gehle