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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 needs?

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.


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