Getting Real with Shadra Bruce
Divorce is devastating, not just for the two people going through it but for the children. Parents are the foundation – the solid stability – beneath the feet of children, and when that crumbles, it takes a lot of work to protect the kids. While I hope you don’t ever need this advice, here are five ways you can make children feel secure during divorce:
For some couples (and their children) divorce comes as a relief because the fighting during the marriage was so bad. But whether the relationship was volatile or not, now is the time to avoid conflict. Don’t fight in front of your kids.
If You Don’t Have Anything Nice to Say…
Even worse than fighting in front of your kids is telling your kids how awful their other parent is. No matter how much you detest the person you made babies with now, you made babies with him or her, so deal with it. Keep your negativity to yourself in front of your children and let your child grow up to have a positive view of both parents. If your spouse is really that horrible, your child will figure it out on his own.
Children are resilient and ultimately flexible, but that doesn’t mean their living situation should be upended completely. If you’re going through custody battles or fighting over who gets to keep the house, do what’s best for your kids until the dust is settled and let them stay as stable as possible. If they do have to move, make sure you take all the things that keep them secure with you.
You Are the Adult
Do not use your kids as therapists or friends even when things are going really badly for you. You are still an adult and a parent, and sometimes you simply have to deal with the fact that your life is sucking and still get up and do what you have to do to take care of your kids.
Your kids will figure out as they get older who did what to cause what’s happening now. You don’t need to drag them into it and disparage their other parent. Don’t ever say things to blame the other parent.
When it comes to getting divorced, your kids should not get caught in the middle of the conflict. They should be insulated and protected as much as possible and reassured that nothing they did caused the problem and that everyone still loves them.