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.
Conflict 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.
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.
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.