Getting Through a Divorce or Separation with Children
Separation and divorce is made exponentially more difficult when kids are involved. There is a ton of great advice out there from friends, family, professionals and even books and the internet about how to best deal with your emotions and those of your kids and ex-partner. Here are just a few tips we have shared in the past that we feel are important:
- Be business like with your ex spouse or partner. For the benefit of the child or children, communication should be civil and consistent with your ex. Do your best to call a truce as soon as possible to ensure that communication regarding kids is on topic and clear.
- Listen. Your children are going to be inclined to share their feelings. You may not always have all of the answers. It’s okay to let them know that too!
- Never turn a child into a messenger. Sending money, gifts or messages via your kids is never a good idea.
- Your kids are not your sounding board. If things are not going smoothly with the other parent, do your best not to voice opinions at or around your child.
- Do not interrogate your children over info regarding your ex-spouse or partner. Trust is a huge issue with children of divorce because many parents overstep boundaries. Pumping your child for information makes you untrustworthy and compromises the relationship between your child and his/her other parent.
- No dirty tricks. Avoid allegiances and ever making a child continuously choose one parent over another.
- Focus on stability by maintaining as many routines and relationships as possible.
- Should you need to make a change in your schedule, notify your child and his/her other parent ASAP.
- Remember that things come up and schedules may change. Allow some grace for your ex and your kids when presented with such changes.
- Finally, be patient. Most divorces take time and the changes that result will take a while to set in. Normalcy does return. The more your kids seeing you model patience, the more likely they will be able to foster some of their own.