The internet is full of advice from experts on how to help your children through a divorce. Most of those experts have never lived through a divorce. It’s heartbreaking, it’s hard and even those sound advice from the most renowned experts will never prepare you for it. It’s easy to fall into the traps of being the scorned woman but I’m here to tell you from experience, that behavior doesn’t help the situation, here’s what will:
1. Don’t Talk Bad About Your Spouse.
I knows it’s hard, being a woman we feel things deeply and we like to share those feelings with the world. Once the separation has occurred, please resist the urge to bad mouth your ex-spouse when the kids are anywhere around. I don’t care if you’re in the bathroom upstairs and you left them in the family room in the basement. As soon as you get on the phone they will be right outside the door listening to your every word. Kids have radar, they’ll know. They’ve already heard enough just living in the house.
2. No Picking Sides.
Don’t make your child feel as though they have to choose you over their other parent. They love you both. You might be saying to yourself right now, “But my kids tells me all the time they love me and don’t want to leave me.” I’m sure your child loves you. Your child loves you so much that he/she wants to spare your feelings. Unless something horrible is going on when they go to Dad’s house, assume they like to go there and facilitate that for their sake.
3. Let Your Ex-Spouse Help.
I know it’s hard if you were the one that was hurt but unfortunately after a divorce, you’ll have to take care of yourself on your own time. As long as your spouse wasn’t abusive, there’s really no reason not to let him help as much as schedules allow with the kids. As long as it makes logistical sense, let him help. It’s good for the kids to see him as much as possible and good for you because it gives you a much needed rest.
4. Be Nice.
Remember this is new territory for everyone. The kids are watching you to see how they should react when Dad has a new girlfriend. Be Nice. You don’t have to like her or even interact with her but you do have to watch what you say. Treat every significant other like she could be their next step parent. Starting off on the right foot could save you drama down the line. People might forgive but they never forget how you treat them.
5. Meet Halfway.
Compromise, even if you hate him. It’s so easy to be the “bitch” just because you can be. I see too many women make this mistake because they were hurt. Divorce sucks but however you’re feeling, trust me, your kids are feeling worse. They are stuck between two people that they love and their home is forever changed. Every time you decide the kids cant go to their Dad’s because you want to punish him, remember who you’re really hurting, your child.
I know this seems more like common sense and it is but you would be surprised how many people I know let go of all common sense when they’ve been hurt. Divorce is a horrible experience for some people but there is no reason it has to be hard on the kids. Especially when both parents make it up in their minds that they will do everything possible to make go smoothly.