Your divorce is new territory for everyone involved. Its effects disrupt lives, while lingering and simmering. Sometimes, heated arguments with hurtful words surface, and, other times, the parents and children withdraw. There are ways to overcome such difficulties, and among them is avoiding doing, saying and perpetuating poor and non-productive habits that only lead to further ill will.
Your children are perceptive. They often know and understand much more than you think. Children are alert to good news, bad news and to reality. During a divorce, they hear every little pin drop of detail. And this is why it is critical for parents to be careful of their actions and words during such a difficult time.
Avoid secrecy and spouting your frustrations
You love your children. You cared for them and protected them during the marriage, and, now, you must do the same in divorce. Here are some of the things not to do around children during divorce:
- Criticize the other parent, speak negatively about him or her or blame them. Doing so just may turn your children against you, fracturing your relationship for years to come. Parents lead by example, and children typically follow their lead. A critical and divisive parent can spawn a critical and divisive child. And, remember, children are impressionable and have elephant’s memories.
- Being secretive about what is happening. Your children likely sense something is amiss. Avoid keeping secrets. Please make sure to tell the truth in piecemeal segments. You do not want to overwhelm them from start by providing excessive details and hurtful information.
- Spout off to your children about the divorce, its complications and issues. They are children and usually do not have the capacity and maturity to deal with such heavy matters. You are the adult, so discuss these issues either with a trusted friend or a licensed therapist.
- Fail to talk, listen and pay attention to your children. They are hurting, too. The family is splitting up, and they likely are confused and have many questions. Anger may surface as well, so expect some of that directed your way. But this is among the times that your children need a lot of understanding, comforting and hugs.
- Fail to spend time with your child. Please continue any sense of normalcy with your children despite a pending divorce. Take them to the park, museums, bike-riding, to see relatives, and make sure to continue to attend their school events and teacher conferences. Such actions show the unconditional love you have for them.
In most divorces, everyone affected needs time to comprehend the changes and to heal. Taking a realistic and balanced approach to healing may prevent detrimental outcomes caused by things you said and did. Your children need you.