Divorce is a stressful and emotionally draining process for all parties involved, but it can be particularly traumatic for children. Far too often, we see children put at the center of divorce proceedings in custody battles and emotional manipulation. This kind of divorce will make the process emotionally and physically traumatizing for children and they will deal with the effects of the devastating disintegration of their family unit for years to come.
At the end of the day, if you aren’t dealing with addiction, domestic abuse (physical and emotional), and other particularly damaging factors within the divorce, then it’s always best to consider how you can get the right outcome for your children’s wellbeing.
At Naked Divorce, we have specific Divorce Advice and Tips training for parents going through a divorce, and these are just some of the points that we will cover:
For some parents, the fear of hurting their children may have been a big contributing factor to staying in an unhappy marriage. However, sometimes a divorce is the best way forward for everyone. Telling your children about the divorce is difficult, but there are ways to break the news while minimizing negative effects and guiding children through the transition.
You need to always communicate honestly, openly, and in a way that your children will understand. This goes for choosing when to tell them and listening to their thoughts and concerns about the divorce. Always ensure that they know both you and your ex-spouse will be in their lives and avoid playing the blame game or using pessimistic language.
Your children don’t just think of themselves during the divorce, but also worry about you and how you are feeling. It’s important to be honest with your kids when you are upset, but always reassure them that it is only fleeting and that everything will be okay. Discuss the more emotionally charged aspects of your divorce with trusted adults or a professional to prevent placing an additional burden on your children.
If it is at all possible, parents should try and mediate custody and sharing arrangements on their own. Going through litigation will do nothing more than stress your children out at a time where they are incredibly vulnerable. Try to put your feelings aside and discuss with your ex how to move forward in the best interests of your children.
Children often internalize their feelings and could blame themselves and take on the guilt for your divorce. As a parent, you know that isn’t the case, but it is of utmost importance that you kindly and regularly remind your children of this too.
Divorce is never easy, and it can be hard to put feelings of resentment for your ex aside. However, when it comes to the children, it’s essential that you put parenting above your own feelings. You want the best outcome for your children’s wellbeing, and this normally comes in the form of a co-parenting plan that we’ll look at in more depth below.
A co-parenting plan, or strategy, is the best way to ensure that you give your children the best possible parental quality during and after a divorce. This includes making shared decisions, interacting at drop-offs, speaking amicably, and doing what is best for your children every step of the way.
Here are some tips for a successful co-parenting plan:
The most difficult part of any co-parenting plan is putting aside your own emotions about your ex for the benefit of your children. Setting aside anger, resentment, and hurt is no easy feat, but it is a vital step in a successful co-parenting plan. You have to work cooperatively to ensure the stability, happiness, and well-being of your children.
This means getting your feelings out somewhere else—such as with friends, family, or a therapist. It also means that you should NEVER bad mouth your ex to your children or use them as a messenger between the two of you.
It may seem impossible, but you have to have peaceful and purposeful communication with your ex, which is consistent in tone. Your children’s wellbeing is your highest purpose, and you must look at your communication with your ex in this manner. Remember to adjust your mindset into one that will benefit your child, rather than lashing out from a place of hurt. If you are physically unable to communicate with your ex, then a message, phone call, or email in a professional tone is also an option. Always keep your conversations child-focused, listen to what your ex says, try and make reasonable requests, and always show restraint when it feels like things are about to blow up—especially in front of your children.
Whether you like your ex or not, you’re going to have to make many parenting decisions together in the future. You need to communicate without bickering and blow-ups to have a smooth decision-making process. Consistency is key in a co-parenting plan and you need to work together to create a life that you both want for your child.
This could be things like visitation times, pick-ups, drop-offs, rules around the house and school, discipline, medical and educational needs, finances, and of course schedules. Make sure you are both on the same page to avoid rocking the boat and upsetting your children.
Divorce is one of the most emotionally draining processes that anyone can go through and it becomes particularly traumatic where children are involved. It is important that you don’t try to take the load on yourself and that you don’t put it on your children either.
It’s okay to reach out to a professional to talk about your feelings and equip yourself with the tools to successfully navigate your way through this trying time. It’s completely natural to need to talk to someone like a therapist, or a divorce coach. There are even programs out there specifically geared for parents going through a divorce to help them on their journey.
At Naked Divorce, our Divorce Angels are with you every step of the way as you learn how to live a successful, healthy, and rewarding life throughout and after the divorce process.
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