Most people have watched the scene multiple times in the movies. A couple sits down with their children. She is crying. He fidgets awkwardly. Together, they explain to the children how much they love them. Although it may seem stereotypical, informing your children about your real-life divorce may not be that different than couples who do so on screen.
While you and your spouse may not be able to make your relationship work, you probably both want to protect your children throughout your divorce process. But do you know how you can help your kids through the impending changes in your family?
How you can increase your children’s acceptance
Children are likely to internalize conflict. Clear communication about your love and commitment to your kids can help them ward off feelings of guilt about the end of your marriage. Especially during a transitional time of heightened emotions, your children may misconstrue things and assume a lack of importance in your life.
However, in addition to reassuring your children about your love for them, other things you can do to help your kids through your divorce might include:
- Encourage open communication – Your children may find you, your divorce and their other parent disappointing. While it might be hard to hear about letting your children down, it is important for your kids to be able to communicate honestly. Validating your children’s feelings can help them gain an understanding of themselves and their world.
- Strive for peaceful communication with your ex – Although your children understand you and your ex do not get along, continual stress from fighting in front of your children is not good for their relationships with either of you. Nor is a regular heightened sense of anger healthy.
- Allow for flexibility – If you have not yet done so, you and your ex will probably develop a comprehensive parenting time schedule. Once that is established, it may be difficult to allow your children more time with your ex. In some cases, rearranging your schedule might be inconvenient. Still, your willingness to provide flexibility for your children to spend additional time with their other parent on occasion could be in their best interest. It might also encourage your ex to provide flexibility in return.
No matter how amicable your divorce process is, it will inevitably disrupt your children’s familiar sense of consistency. However, with your help, they will adjust. And with your love and support, they will be okay.