4 Tips for Helping Your Children During Your Divorce
Divorce is no fun for anyone, but
children need help coping with the drastic change in
their life. Here are four simple things you can do to
help your children flourish during your divorce.
Show your children you love them.
Most parents sometimes forget to show their kids that
they love them. During a divorce, we are thinking about
other things.. how to pay bills, how to juggle work and
a family, what a jerk your ex was... Don't forget to
show your kids that you love them. They are confused
right now. They are afraid of how their life will
change. Smile at them. Ask how their day was. Listen to
them. Share a joke. Make them smile.
Tell your children it is okay to love both Mom and
Dad. Divorce doesn't change love.
Sue felt her stomach twist every Friday night when her
ex-husband, Dale, picked up the kids. She knew they
would be spending the weekend with Dale's new
girlfriend. She bit her tongue to keep from making snide
remarks about her ex-husband's girlfriend. She
understood that talking bad would not be good for the
children, so she bit her tongue and clenched her teeth
as they got ready to leave. As they left with their
father, she would say, "Have fun", but there was no
conviction in it.
What Sue failed to understand is that the kids could
feel her tension. They didn't understand what she was
thinking; they only understood that whenever their
father came to pick them up, mom got upset. This, in
turn, upset them.
Sue needed to admit that her anger and fear were
reflecting on the kids. Once she admitted it, she was
able to give herself affirmations that would help
encourage the kids to enjoy their time with their
father. She used the affirmation help we use in our divorce parenting classes
(also available free in the
resource section of the website).
She chose the affirmation: "I will encourage my children
to love their father and enjoy time spent with him. I am
doing this for their happiness."
She repeated this affirmation daily, and on the very
first Friday, everyone was much more relaxed during the
exchange. In no time the relationship between Sue and
Dale went from strained to cooperative. Dale was so
appreciative of the change in Sue that he began going
out of his way to make things easier for her.
Tell your children divorce is not their fault. Tell
them again. And again.
Many children, especially preschoolers and children in
grade school, assume that the divorce is their fault.
They may worry that the parent they are still living
with will also leave them. They may cling when the
parent tries to go to work or to run an errand. Grade
schoolers may withdraw or become aggressive.
Don't sabotage your children's time with your ex.
Mary enjoyed waking her five year old twins early on
holidays when she had to let them visit her ex-husband.
She knew there would be a big family gathering and he
would have his hands full with two tired kids. When
called on it, she simply shrugged and said, "At least he
gets them. It's all I am required to do."
Mary is hurting her kids more than she is hurting her
ex-husband. Let go of the anger and work to ensure happy
kids. Keep in mind that the more people who love your
kids, the happier your kids will be. What’s more
important- your need to be right - or your children’s
None of these things takes much time, but each and every
one of them will help your child through your divorce.
And, while you may not believe it right now, each of
them will also help you through your divorce. Start
doing them today.