Getting divorced is a very upsetting time for you and your spouse. However, when you have children, the experience is even more emotional.
You should keep the children out of any arguments, and make the process as easy on them as possible. As frustrated as you are with your spouse, you should focus on the needs and concerns of your child; rather than the disputes between you and your spouse.
There are several things you can do to make the process easier on your children.
1. Consult a child or family therapist. Many children benefit from being able to share their feelings and concerns, without feeling like they are hurting either parent.
2. Before discussing the divorce with the children, make a game plan with your spouse, so that you appear to be on the same page. Also, anticipate questions that the child might have, and prepare a unified response.
3. Work together and discuss the children’s concerns with them as a family. Do not make accusations against your spouse, or have the conversation focus on the two of you. Make sure the conversation focuses on the children and their needs and concerns.
4. Focus on the positives – that the children have two people who love them so much that they both want special time with them.
5. Focus on how things at home are going to stay as similar as possible.
6. Tell the child that it is not their fault – that mommy and daddy are just their best selves in two different houses.
7. Do not place blame. Make it appear as a joint decision that is best for the family as a whole.
8.Anticipate that your child will have additional questions throughout the divorce process.
You may also find it helpful to obtain books from your local library or bookstore that explain the divorce process to children. Depending on the age of your child, you can either read the book with them, or let them pick out books to read on their own.
Throughout the entire process, you want to remind the children how loved they are, and do anything you can to reduce any anxiety they may have about the significant change taking place in their lives. Try to keep their lives as normal as possible, and be patient with them as they adapt to a new normal.