Kids First: 5 Ways to Make Your Children Feel Secure During a Divorce

MomsGetReal Guest Contributor Anika Oaks

Parents provide the stability in life for children and when that foundation is taken away by divorce, it disrupts the entire process of growing up. Parents can exercise a few basic steps to give the child as much security as possible in an awkward situation. Here are five ways to make your children feel secure and loved during a divorce.

No Conflict

divorceConflict is the natural lifestyle of some parents. Children caught in the middle suffer greatly. Both spouses must make the effort to keep the fighting away from the children during and after the divorce. If an argument starts to brew, take a step outside or move it to an isolated room. Arguments are so easy to fall into, and their repercussions can last a very long time. Show enough self control to minimize your children’s exposure to this negativity.

Avoid Recriminations

A wife may think her philandering husband is the worst person in the world, but to a child the same man is a loved, faithful daddy. Spouses who take their anger and emotions out on the other parent in front of the children can provoke mixed emotions in the children. Avoid blame and negativity toward the other spouse in front of the children, even if your points are valid.

Provide Stability in Living Arrangements

Children are flexible in what they can withstand, but they still need a place that they feel is their own. Ensure they know that there is a bed, a room or even a corner reserved for them. They can live though temporary and necessary times of instability, but when it stretches too long they become insecure. Try to resolve any custody issues as quickly as possible with minimal dramatics.

Make It “No Fault”

Children old enough to reason become adept at understanding blame. Unfortunately, they are far too willing to blame themselves for the parents’ breakup. This is very hard for them to admit to others and it becomes a festering sore on their spirit. This is not solved overnight, but both parents must make an effort to comfort the children and let them know repeatedly that it was through no fault or blame of theirs that mom and dad could not work things out. This subject is important to address, as children can internalize the idea, first, that they contributed to the separation, and second, that relationships and marriage are scary and not to be trusted. These ideas can have long-lasting effects.

Seek Mediation

A divorce mediator works for both parents to come to agreements that everyone can live with. Silvana D. Raso, writing for the Huffington Post, states that the mediation process allows divorcing parents to stay cool. Companies such as California Divorce Mediation provide the parents with the tools to help them focus on the children’s welfare and security while hashing out the details like custody arrangements and who keeps what.

It is sometimes hard to put children first when parents’ lives and needs are abruptly turned over. However, it is the responsibility of the parents to ensure that their children come through the divorce process with as little harm as possible.

 

Anica Oaks is a recent college graduate from University of San Francisco who loves dogs, the ocean, and anything outdoor-related. She was raised in a big family, so she’s used to putting things to a vote. Also, cartwheels are her specialty. You can connect with Anica here. This article uses information about the mediation process from California Divorce Mediation.

5 Things to Consider When Going Through a Divorce

MomsGetReal Guest Contributor Andraea Campbell

When couples marry, they plan to stay together and live happily ever after. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Even though couples enter their marriages with the best intentions, trouble can still exist. Sadly, just about half the couples married today will spit up and divorce. The mental and financial strain of divorce is stressful on couples. Below are five things you should consider when going through a divorce.

Keep Quiet

Protecting Kids During Divorce
Protecting Kids During Divorce

When you divorce, keep your business quiet. Everyone talks to family and friends to have an outlet, but they may also interpret your talk as a cry for help and mention this to your spouse. This would not be a great idea if you plan on having an amicable divorce. If your marriage has ended, your spouse needs to hear the news from you. Never tell your spouse until your plans are in order.

Keep Emotions in Check

The state of your finances can affect your emotions when going through a divorce. The better off your financial state is, the better your emotional state will be. When you let your spouse know that the marriage is over, you must be prepared that they will walk out the door. Consider if you are financially prepared for your spouse to leave when you tell them you are divorcing.

The Children

Keep in mind that your children are always watching you. It is always best to be nice to your spouse because your children are watching your interactions. Think about when and how you will tell the children about your divorce. The best way to do this is both parents telling the kids together. If the parents are cordial to each other, the kids will feel more comfortable about the divorce.

 Save Money

Have enough money saved for at least six months when going through a divorce. Running one household is a lot cheaper than running two. Calculate how much it costs for you to live every month. Have a plan in place to meet those expenses on your own. It is recommended you have at least one credit card that is in your name solely, and pay off any joint debt that you can. Remember that your spouse might not commit to maintain any joint credit cards after a divorce, and it could affect your credit rating. A person’s credit rating is usually the first casualty when a marriage is ending.

Get an Attorney

Hiring an attorney is one of the first things you should do. Having the best legal advice you can is very important when going through a divorce. A divorce is the beginning of a new living situation and life for you. Making sound decisions will influence your life for years down the road, and a good family law attorney can help you make those decisions.

 

Andraea Campbell is a freelance writer from Kahuku Hawaii. She enjoys writing, surfing, snowboarding, hiking, and being outside in general. Andraea is also divorced and knows how hard that can be. She wrote this article on behalf of a family law attorney in Milwaukee,  one of a few legal services she recommends.

The Steps of Letting Go

The Steps of Letting Go

Emotions run high
During the divorce grieving process
You feel every one of them
Trying to figure out this mess
Manipulated, mad
Are a few to start
Frustrated, betrayed
Because someone broke your heart
Denial is the first phase
I hear you go through
Not wanting to believe
Someone is through with you
Anger and rage
Is next I am supposed to feel
Still trying to get there
In the process trying to heal
Depression on the docket
Do I really need to go there
All I have been through
Do I even dare
Hurt, confusion, rage
Has to be in there somewhere
I’m sure they wouldn’t be
If the person truly cared
Acceptance is part of the last step
I have to take
Prayers and letting go
Forgiving the mistakes

We’re All Affected When Family or Close Friends Divorce

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Getting Real With Jennifer Poole

Recently there have been many people in my life who are deciding to divorce. Even if I agree that it is the best thing due to issues in the marriage, it is still heartbreaking. The parents of one of my daughter’s friends are divorcing. This has caused my daughter to ask us many questions about what happens when people divorce and if daddy and I fight does that mean we will get divorced. It has allowed us to have open discussions about relationships and how just because we may get upset from time to time it does not automatically mean we are getting divorced.

To add to my daughter’s concern, her former babysitter and the sitter’s spouse are divorcing. This has been difficult for all of us as I grew up with the husband and I am like a little sister to him. I was at their wedding 20+ years ago and his soon to be ex-wife took care of my daughter from the time she was six weeks old until she started kindergarten.

At first they were battling things out on Facebook for the whole world to see. Eventually the husband, SamAll of the great advice and content you count on from Shadra Bruce can now be found at http://momsgetreal.com, deleted his account, but JanAll of the great advice and content you count on from Shadra Bruce can now be found at http://momsgetreal.com continues to post about her new life and her soon to be ex. I am happy she is finding a new life and enjoying herself but her comments like “I used to think I would be upset about seeing my ex with another woman but my parents taught me how to give away toys I didn’t want any more” are painful to read when we care about both of them.

Why they are divorcing and the details of the process are none of my business, and I don’t want to be drawn in to it and don’t want to be asked to pick sides. I just want to be able to support both of them in their quests to find a happy and fulfilling life even if it means they are not doing it together. I refuse to “like” or comment on her posts about her ex and instead focus on her posts about finding herself and new happiness.

That brings me to the most difficult pending divorce – my parents. After almost 26 years of marriage my mother and step-father have decided to divorce. Do I agree with this decision? It is none of my business, so I try to keep my opinions to myself and just be supportive. My mom will often vent to me her frustrations with dad, the pending divorce and its impact but I try to stay neutral.

I validate her feelings and offer her suggestions on how to approach a discussion or express a feeling. I know if I was still a child my mother would never talk negatively about my step-dad but since I am an adult I guess she does not need to protect me from the negativity and the reality of it all. I haven’t discussed the issues with my step-dad so I don’t know what he is truly thinking about all of this. Overall, I guess I am still in denial about this divorce. I know they are not happy but part of me still hopes one day soon one of them will swallow their pride and try to get things resolved.

At this point I just continue to validate and support all of those people and their children and grandkids because regardless of why they are divorcing it is a major life change for them and the people that care about them both.

The Pain of Divorce Hurts More Than Just the Couple

Getting Real With Tammy Bartholomew

Tug o’ War Princess

Tug o’ War

A child’s game

In divorce

Someone places blame

Manipulation is

How it starts

Some believing

Others end with broken hearts

Please don’t tug me

My daughter said in her quiet voice

Please don’t make me choose

I don’t want to have to make the choice

“I feel so guilty” she says

I say it’s not because of you

Repeat that every night

What else can I do

You don’t see the tears

Or the sadness in her face

When she says I want my daddy

Want to live at his place

Don’t want to hurt you mom

Don’t know where to go

Should I stay here

Or should I go

“Please don’t get a divorce”

What can I say

Never wanted it

To end up this way

We both love you

With all our heart

How do you make an 11 year old understand

Sometimes people have to part

It kills me to see

The nightly tears in her eyes

See the sadness

Painted in her hazel eyes

How to I help

Repair your heart

Help you understand

And make a new start

Hear kids are invinceable

Bounce back like a rubber band

But the pain we are putting you through

Can’t truly understand

Acting out differently

Every day is new

Never know the behavior

To expect from you

Damn you for

Putting our children in the middle

Quite be a selfish bastard

Trying to belittle

Raised up their hopes

Just to let them fall

Can’t you see it’s

Tearing down every happy wall

Never want to tug you my princess

On your tiny heart strings

I’m also learning everyday

What this really means

So Princess please pray to God

Each and every night

He will lead and guide you

Not tugging on your rope to tight

Fighting Over Money and Control Make Divorce Ugly

Getting Real With Tammy Bartholomew

Divorce can be ugly, and the bottom line is, divorce is about money and control: Who is paying the money and who has the control of the kids. My parents have been both married and divorce 4 times. My mom is still with “old #4” as he calls himself after 18 years. They are to the point they finish each others sentences; it’s cute.

Cute as it is now, it wasn’t always that way. After my mom divorced my real father, I lived full time with my mom, never really seeing my father. I knew him but I think because of the control my mom exerted, he never really reached out to me as he could have. He also went on with his life, new wife and kids. My mom remarried a military man and we traveled, moving a lot.

Money was also a variable with child support. I am not all justifying this or making an excuse not to see your child, but sometimes it is a factor.  My ex-husband is ordered to pay all the travel cost for our 3 children. I was very adamant about this in the beginning, because I was not the one who moved out of the state; he was. He moved, so he pays. After a while, I saw him struggling as I did.

Who does it hurt when the kids can’t visit both parents? Our kids.

One day I called him and said, “I will not always be able to help, but if I can I will.” I still know it’s ultimately his responsibility.  Luckily for my kids sake, my ex and I try to be civil. He lives in a nearby state and we have a very set schedule for the kids visitation. I have to admit, in the beginning I was controlling.

They are my kids and I don’t want them hurt. I don’t want them being taken and raised by anyone else but me.

Then, I started to remember about my dad and how he wasn’t around. Who did it hurt? Me. That is exactly what path my kids where heading down. They were paying the price for us.

It amazes me. As a couple we were fine paying for whatever they needed. Now that we are divorced, no one wants to pay. Everyone has what they think they are entitled to in divorce.  I realize not all divorces are fair, or amicable. They are physically, emotional, and mentally painful. My parents try to get along, but still don’t like each other and pull the control card when it comes to my children and me. Its extremely sad.

In the end kids should always come first.

Keep Smiling, Tammy

The Pain of Betrayal – a Poem

MomsGetReal™ Poet Extraordinaire Tammy Bartholomew

D Day

The day has come

For you to leave

It should be happy

Then the ace comes out of your sleeve

See the separation

Was supposed to be fair

Until you pulled the other “Divorce” card

Out of thin air

The air was never thin

You knew the whole time

Your heart was gone

Not belonging to mine

Really wasn’t surprised

You didn’t cover your tracks

Internet research skill

Something you obviously lacked

Kept believing

Until the very end

We would be together

You had discovered a new friend

Your heart was gone

It had been for a while

Was hard to believe

This was your new style

Like I said before

Tell the truth and I’m gone

You couldn’t even do that

To cover your dance and song

Enjoy your future

I will too

Soon I will be free

Of all the pain you put me through

Will find someone

Who loves my feelings and all

Not because my hair is to short

Or my body not small

Will be open and honest

Learn to live again

Be in love with my new

Partner and best friend

Learning to Live Again After Divorce – a Poem

MomsGetReal™ Poet Extraordinaire Tammy Bartholomew

The Little Girl

We all have

A princess in our heart

Father the protector

From the start

She’d been hiding

For a long time

Bursting to get out

Not willing to cross the line

Wanting to

Be taken care of

Needing to feel

She was loved

Never to be laughed at

Nor leaning on others

A giver too many

Perfect wife and mother

Many reminded her

Of her human side

Where life is not perfect

Not to run and hide

Most important lesson

The little girl had been taught

The love she needs

Is the love in her heart

She has grown to become

A woman of confidence

Just needs it back

All this to make sense

Make mistakes

Be financially broke

A girl as her best friend

Maybe crack a joke

She can be loyal to all

Trust in others

A good partner

And a great mother

Laugh at herself

Just enjoy life

Smiles on her panties

Not be so up tight

Kids to enjoy

Dreams to come true

Learn to live again

Being true to you know who

Rediscovering Identity After Divorce – a Poem

MomsGetReal™ Poet Extraordinaire Tammy Bartholomew

Identity

A relationship

Thought was true

Turns out

Never knew

There are days

Angry and confused

Worked so hard

Everything to loose

Lost myself

How this could be

Worked so hard

Independent and free

Didn’t listen to

All the warning signs

Leader of myself

Or be left behind

Where was I

My kids half grown

Looking to the future

And I all alone

Worried about

What was best

Was I bad mom

For needing to rest

Feelings ate me

Days on end

Was their mother

My sole job to raise them

How you explain

Pain and scars

Kids confused

Of who you are

He needed a chance

My dad not there

Get to know them

That’s only fair

He wasn’t taking them

My identity gone

No wife no mother

Where would I belong

Today’s the day

Start looking at me

Scared as hell

My new identity

Divorce is Like a War – and There Are Casualties

MomsGetReal™ Poet Extraordinaire Tammy Bartholomew

Casualty of War

Casualty of war

Words you would say

When you called me

That cold winter day

Tears started to roll

Asking what did I do

Making you so mad

The end to lose you

I’m angry

Even at myself

Not worthy

Of you or anyone else

Divorce not in my vocab

Not ever to me

What was the lesson

You wanted me to see

I racked my brain

Trying to look back

Where did I miss the bullets

This viscous attack

You weren’t even home

How would I begin

To learn to live

Over again

Then it hit me

Not to be left behind

What you where saying

The future was mine

You’re mean and cruel

Things your head

Get over you

Isn’t that what you said

Didn’t like what I saw

Or know you anymore

I will go on but

Not being a casualty of your war