Since your children were born, you’ve wanted nothing more than to protect them and keep them happy. Unfortunately, every parent learns it’s impossible to fully protect their children from emotional pain. The good news is you can be there for your child and provide support even when you’re hurting. This can go a long way toward lessening or even healing your child’s pain, and it might help you, too.
You Can Be There for Your Child During and After Divorce
You are grieving and emotionally drained. Part of the pain is your concern that your divorce is hurting your kids. You can take comfort in knowing that if you and your ex are working through the collaborative divorce process, your kids’ best interests are a major consideration.
Instead of splitting hairs, you divide assets and mutually make decisions that will benefit your entire family. You can also lay the healthy foundation for post-decree co-parenting. Still, it can difficult to be there for your child or family members, focusing on their fears and pain when you feel overwhelmed by your own loss as your divorce concludes.
5 Tips to Lessen Your Children’s Pain and Fears
- Keep them informed and uninformed. Give them limited updates about your divorce and co-parenting. “Mom and I decided she should get an apartment with bedrooms for you, but we should stay here because of school. How do you feel about that?” Don’t tell them Mom has a boyfriend, she’s the reason the divorce is happening and you’re hurt. Making negative comments about your soon to be ex might make you feel better, but it will definitely make your child feel worse.
- Don’t use your child as a friend or confidante. It’s tempting to share your hurt, fears and feelings with your son or daughter, but just don’t. They are dealing with their own emotions, so remember: Your job is to be there for your child, not to use them as an emotional springboard.
- Repeat often: “This divorce is not your fault.” Even the most logical and mature offspring suspect they caused the divorce. Teenagers will commonly blame themselves for the marriage failure. Toddlers think they were bad and that’s why a parent is going away. You can reassure them they did not cause the divorce without making your ex the “bad guy.” Repeat early and often, that the divorce is not their fault.
- Get counseling, for you and for them. If you really want to be there for your child, keep him or her talking. When kids are not sharing with you, they may open up to someone else, like a trained counselor with whom they have no emotional investment. They may feel more free and safe about saying things they think will hurt or anger you.
- Consider an Arizona collaborative divorce. The very structure and design of a collaborative divorce is based on protecting your children.
One of the first things your legal professional or mediator will tell you is to “show and tell.” Tell your kids you’re still a family. They are loved and always will be loved by you and your ex, no matter who lives where. Show them your respect and goodwill for their other parent.
Collaborate Divorce is the Best Legal Choice
If you are considering collaborative divorce, consider the professionals at Best Legal Choices of Arizona. You will have access to a neutral financial professional to help you make decisions about your family’s future. Your communication coach can help you learn a new way of speaking rather than arguing. You may discuss your divorce using a better approach: consideration rather than blame.