Divorce and Children

1. Divorce your spouse not your children

It is very easy for your children to become collateral damage when you are at war with your spouse.  Too often, parents drip poisonous thoughts into their children’s ears simply to hurt or undermine their former partner. It is surprising how children, once the most crucial and important element of a family, take second place in the war of hate that often goes on directly above their heads.

2. Minimising the damage

There is no such thing as a pain free divorce if you have children because your children will feel that they are to blame in some way; that they are the cause of the rows; and that they are the weapons of mutually assured destruction.  Both parties in a divorce may not be to blame equally for the breakdown of a marriage but both parties are to blame 100% if the children feel that they are responsible in some way.  First and foremost, it is vitally important that your children do not hear your rows even if you are in another room.  Once separation has taken place never use your children as go-betweens, carrying unpalatable messages; and never use your children as a pointed stick to poke your former other half in the ribs by deliberately changing plans at the last minute.

Divorce Children

3. Create a new routine

During the break up of a marriage it is important that both parents speak frankly about the divorce and that they lay out a clear path of what the future holds for the children. Confused children are unhappy children but if your children understand what is to happen, when they are to see each of their parents and that both parents love them dearly, some of the damage that is being done by the breakdown can be mitigated.

4. Do not speak ill of the living

Do not try to become the friend of your child or try to turn your child into a spy, expecting a fully detailed report on what is happening in the life of your former other half. Also, never speak ill of your former spouse and expect your child to understand. When you are with your children it is vital for their well-being, not yours, that you maintain a calm manner and simply express positive thoughts.  As soon as you slip into using your child as a sounding board for your own miserable feelings you are turning a lousy situation into one that can cause your child lasting psychological damage.

5. Love is a cure all

It may surprise you to know that one of the first victims of a marriage breakdown is love for your children.  When parents succumb to their own bitterness, there is often little room left for love even between parent and child.  Often, a parent feels so angry about what has happened that they find it impossible to tell their child or children how much they love them, especially if a parent can sees a lot of their spouse within their child.  Tell your children every day how much you love them and then there is a chance that they will come through your divorce with only minor scarring.

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