A divorce or separation is often a stressful and emotional time for everyone involved. It can be made even more difficult when there are children involved. However there are some things that you can do to make the whole process less painful for them.
Try and agree on matters relating to the children:
If at all possible, try and come to an agreement over issues involving the children. Being human, there can be a tendency to be difficult for the sake of it or because we feel hurt or angry. If your children know you are arguing over them, they can often feel unnecessarily guilty.
Do not use your children as a go-between:
Quite often in difficult break-ups, the only contact the parents have with one another is indirectly through their children. In this situation it can be tempting to ask children to pass on messages to the other parent. You know it’s wrong as you are doing it but it’s hard to stop sometimes. This is a slippery slope, as initial amicable communication can quickly turn into a slanging match via the children. It may be better all round to talk directly and if that is not possible, then send a text message.
Stay involved in their life:
The time immediately after the separation is the most important time for both parents to be involved in their children’s life. It is not the time to distance yourself, because children need to know you are there for them despite what has happened.
Don’t be horrible about the other parent in front of the children:
This should go without saying but it is surprising how often it happens. Children often feel under immense pressure to side with you, which is unfair. If you really want them “on your side” or to simply understand your position this form of behaviour can have the opposite effect. If you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all.
Keep to routines as often as possible:
Children of all ages feel safe and secure knowing what to expect next. This is even more important during a break-up. If they usually go to ballet on a Monday evening, then take them, even if you do not feel like leaving the house.
The most important thing is that children feel loved by both parents. Remember that it is as difficult a time for them, if not more so, than it is for you. If you need further advice about issues relating to your children, please contact Aimee Barclay on 0117 379 0170 or contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.