When kids are involved in a divorce, the process becomes more stressful and emotional for everyone. How you handle your divorce can have a tremendous impact on their lives, and any relationship you will have with them in the future. How you and your spouse behave and interact with each other, especially in front of the children, can have severe consequences or benefits. But again, it all depends on how you deal with it.
Here is some advice to help you get through this difficult situation when kids are involved:
Make sure you and your spouse, regardless of how you may feel about each other, need to at least present yourselves as on the same page and a team – a team that is there to support and care for the children and their wellbeing. This has a few benefits, one of which is that it will give them the impression that this divorce may not be the end of the family. Soothing and calming their fears and worries about their parents splitting up is an important step in “surviving” the divorce. If they at least have the impression that despite the divorce their parents still love them and cherish them, and that you are still going to be there for them, they can keep a positive outlook on the situation, which is ideally what you would want. The divorce already hurts everyone enough, it is best to limit the damage as much as possible.
Second, you should expect a lot of questions from your kids, as the idea of only having one parent around will be a bit of a shock to them, considering they’ve never been in that situation before. In reality, a divorce is often very traumatic for younger children, so it is crucial that you stay open (as much as appropriate), patient and calm when discussing the topic. If they don’t understand, which in all likelihood they won’t, don’t get exasperated or upset; just remind them that they are loved and that they still have a mom and a dad.
Children often see themselves as the cause of the divorce. Make sure to let them know that this is most certainly not the case.