There’s nothing fun about going through a divorce. The wonderful relationship you once had is over. That’s very hard to deal with by itself. With children in the mix, the separation is made even more difficult. Kids are often confused and hurt to see their parents no longer in love.
This can have long lasting impact, altering their view of love and relationships for a lifetime, often in a negative way.
To minimize the harmful effects a divorce can have on your children, make sure you say these 5 things.
1. It’s not your fault.
Children of divorce often blame themselves because everything they once knew is falling apart. They are scared and confused, even if they don’t show it. And research shows that many kids will in fact hide their true feelings about the divorce:
According to a new survey, parents are in the dark about the negative impact divorce is having on their kids.
U.K. parenting website Netmums.com surveyed 1,000 parents and 100 children separately about divorce.
Thirty-nine percent of the kids surveyed said they hide their feelings about the split from their parents, 20 percent said there’s no use communicating because their parents are too “wrapped up in themselves” and 14 percent said they couldn’t be honest with their parents about how upset they felt.
Just how upset were they? Nearly one-third of kids under 18 described themselves as “devastated” by the divorce and 13 percent even blamed themselves.
Conversely, 77 percent of the parents surveyed felt their kids were coping fine with the split; ten percent even said their kids were relieved that they had left their partner. Only 5 percent of parents said they were aware that the children blamed themselves for the divorce.
Assure your children that the divorce has nothing to do with them. Explain that the relationship with their father wasn’t working anymore. Help them to understand your choice. Encourage them to talk about their feelings on their own time.
2. You don’t have to choose sides.
Kids often feel obligated to choose sides when it comes to divorce. Who should they live with, who should they place blame on for destroying their family? Let them know that this isn’t a war. It’s not about picking sides. Nothing about the current situation will ever change the fact that you are all still family.
3. Your father or mother is not being replaced.
Sometimes divorce happens because both partners have grown feelings for other people. And even if that’s not the reason, new relationships are inevitable after divorce. Although it might not seem like it, It is necessary that you let your children know that your new partner, or daddies new partner isn’t there to replace their parent.
4. You’re allowed to talk about it.
Frustrated parents who have just divorced are often so full of emotions and anger that they have no desire to discuss the situation. But be considerate. Your children may need to express themselves and talk about the divorce to accept it and move on. Without communication, there will be chaos, if not externally then internally for the children.
5. I love you.
This is of the utmost importance. No matter what is going on, express your love for your children. They will feel a lot of emotions they never felt before during the divorce, but feeling unloved should not be one of them. Ensure that you and your previous partner are civil around each other, and fully supportive of your children.
Remember, this choice may have not been about the kids, but they are often most affected by the situation. Divorce is not only hard on parents, it is hard on the children as well. Keep an open mind when going through this. Be honest but not too blunt. Do not ask your children to pick sides, and don’t bad mouth your previous partner around them. Help your kids understand your choice and show them endless love and support for a smooth transition.