Going through a divorce is emotionally and financially crippling; however, if a child is involved, making sure you do what’s best for them is paramount. While you should never remain in an unhappy marriage because of your child, it’s important that you don’t drag them through the same emotional challenges and burdens that you’ll face.
It doesn’t matter what your spouse has done to make you want a divorce; it’s wrong to pit parent and child against each other. Even if you truly hate them, don’t talk about their mishaps in front of your child; they can still be a good parent. Take a look at this helpful guide from Divorce Aid on mediation for child problems.
Even though your children may not understand what’s going on, always relate with them as honestly as you can. They will sense when you’re upset and will worry about your wellbeing. It’s okay to tell them that you’re sad, but make sure you always remain positive. Reassure them that things will get better when it’s all over.
Imagine what it would be like to have your child taken away from you. You may not get along with your former spouse, but not many wrongs justify taking their child away from them. Give them regular visitation time. If you really can’t stand to be in the same room as them, ask a friend if they can drop off and pick up your child for you.
Your child will sense when times are financially crippling. Moving to a smaller home and losing access to certain things is obvious and they will know if you’re struggling. Again, be honest with them, but reinforce the notion that things will get better once you’re settled.
There’s nothing more emotionally scarring than seeing parents fight, especially if the content of the arguing is related to custody. Do not under any circumstances argue with your former spouse when your child is around. If you need to speak with them, swallow your pride and wait for a better time.
Making sure that you reinforce your love for your child is the most important step of all. Children will often feel responsible when their parents get divorced and blame themselves. Tell them that things will be different, but it doesn’t affect the way you both feel about them.
The most important aspect of protecting your child is communication. Don’t keep them in the dark, otherwise they’ll just feel confused and alone. Help them understand what’s happening, but don’t place any of the burden on their shoulders. They’ll already be going through enough.
Download our free guide to supporting your children through divorce here. We have several programs to support kids, so contact us if we can be of service.
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