Divorce is notorious for being a very difficult process for the children in a family. While the parents may be the ones choosing to end a relationship, the children will experience a complete disruption of the stability and safety they have long known.
For many people in unhappy marriages, concerns about their children will be the main reason that they don’t leave as soon as they would otherwise prefer. What they may fail to realize is that parents suffering through an unhealthy and outright miserable marriage can be as damaging as divorce, if not worse.
There are ways that you can prioritize keeping your children as healthy and happy as possible in your upcoming divorce.
1. Keep them sheltered from your conflict
One of the most common mistakes that parents make is to bring their children into the middle of their dispute with the other parents. They vent to their child about their frustrations or don’t stop to think about how the children will overhear them as they discuss their anger and negativity with other people.
Being careful not to talk negatively in front of your children and avoiding fights in front of the children.
2. Make stability a priority
The easiest way to facilitate a smooth transition from a single family living in one home to a co-parenting arrangement will be for you and the other parent to work things out carefully before you talk to the children. Knowing how you will handle custody and being able to maintain the same schedule and rules at both houses will make it much easier for your children to acclimate to the new situation.
3. Recognize that they likely need support
When you are struggling with your own anxiety or depression stemming from the marriage, you may not be able to give your children as much support as they need to process their feelings. Additionally, they may worry about being completely honest with you about their feelings because they don’t want to upset you. Taking your children to see a counselor or potentially signing them up for a support group or a playgroup that has children with divorced parents can give them a safe place to express themselves.
Although divorce will inevitably be difficult and stressful, it does not have to do severe psychological harm to your children. The more conscious you are of how your relationship can impact your kids, the easier it will be for you to address the issues that might affect your children’s health and happiness.
Keeping your focus on your children as you prepare for divorce and negotiate custody arrangements will help make this complicated transition a little bit easier for them.