No one ever really gets married, envisaging that a few years later, divorce will be on the cards. You may not even recognize any of the signs that you might be heading in that direction. Children can often be caught in the middle of conflict, but it is essential to do your utmost to protect them from the negative emotions of divorce.
Continue reading for # ways in which to do this
1. Do not weaponize them
It is natural to want to keep your offspring close to you. However, if in doing so, you are essentially using them as a weapon against your former partner, this is not advisable. Your children are probably the most important people in the world to you, and as a result, you will feel like you want to protect them from everything that is going in. Unfortunately, often our hurt means that we will lash out and use our kids against our ex. For example, withholding access where it has previously been in place due to a disagreement or the situation becoming tenser. This reaction is not acceptable unless you fear that the children are in immediate danger by seeing that parent. In all instances, it is best to seek legal advice before making such a decision.
2. Do not avoid the subject
Avoiding the subject of divorce altogether might seem like the right decision to make. However, children are intuitive and curious by nature. They will know that something is bothering their parents and triggering anxiety, resentment, frustration and even anger. You do not have to give them every minute detail but allowing them access to some of the information is essential. A matter of fact approach giving them precise details about the process works in many cases.
3. Avoid apportioning blame
Ok, so your husband cheated on you for someone younger. You found out, kicked him out, and are now midway through the divorce process. Of course, the main reason for the marriage breaking down was his infidelity. You know it. He knows it. If the children are aware of the specific details, they will know it too. However, it is vital to avoid apportioning blame. In doing so, you are criticizing one of their parents. It can make their relationship awkward as well as forcing them into a specific direction with regard to the way they feel about them. Unfortunately, it can also work in the opposite way to which you expect. Hearing one parent constantly blaming the other can make the children feel sorry for the ‘blamed’ party and the actual respect, and trust might be lost in you, the one offering that criticism, instead.
4. Allow them a voice
It can sometimes feel as though you are the only person affected by the divorce proceedings, and therefore, no one else really matters or deserves a voice. However, that is not true. Allowing your children to share their thoughts and feelings on the matter can make them feel involved. It also gives them the opportunity to share their own frustrations and worries. If the children begin to use negative language about the other parent, it can be easy to want to agree, and in fact, join in. However, this scenario is not at all healthy for either parent or child.
5. Seek professional legal advice
Using the services of your Great Uncle’s next-door neighbor’s hair stylist’s husband might seem like an excellent solution and way to save a bit of money (divorce can be an expensive affair). However, you may find yourself dealing with far more than you ought to. West Virginia Attorneys offer a comprehensive service where they will negotiate a fair agreement, making the whole situation as least stressful as possible for both you and your children. Not only will this support the emotional aspects, but a good divorce lawyer will also enable your children to be financially protected.
6. No guilt trips
Having children can change your lives forever. In fact, sometimes it can act as a catalyst for the deterioration of a relationship. If this is the case with you, guilt-tripping your child about their own existence and its part in you and your former partner moving further apart is a terrible response to have. Not only will this transfer negative emotions to your children, it will also serve no purpose whatsoever. Inevitably, you will realize the hurt and confusion you have caused, leading to your own guilt. Even taking back the unnecessary and harmful words will not erase them from memory. In fact, your relationship with your children could be tarnished, in some ways, for the rest of your lives.
7. Try to be civil with each other
There will be some occasions when the mother and father will need to be in the same room. Deep down, you may feel like gouging the other person’s eyeballs out. However, on the surface, appearing cool, calm and collected will be your best option. Your children deserve for both parties to make an effort to at least be civil to one another. Imagine in years to come that there will be occasions such as graduation, weddings and baptisms where you will want to relax and enjoy the days rather than being concerned about the other one’s presence. Acknowledging each other with a simple ‘Hello’ or even asking how the other person is will suffice. It could also make you feel better about yourself for being the bigger person and letting your frustration take a back seat.
8. Don’t try to buy your children
In divorce cases where there is debate over the future of the children’s residence, it can be tempting to try to do your best to win them over. Buying your children’s happiness or confidence in them choosing you over your former partner is unfair and underhand. In fact, many young people will be able to see through this tactic, and it could, therefore, go against you, causing the complete opposite to happen. There are many factors involved with the choice of residency. Show your children love through your words, actions and thoughts rather than simply flashing a credit card in their direction.