Your Kids and Your Divorce

Statistics tell us that at least 50% of us will not stay married.  This is something that most of us laugh at when we first get married, but the fact of the matter is that this is not a number that we can run from.  If you find yourself part of the statistic it can be difficult, and when you have kids it is even more difficult.  Divorce is never easy, but there are some things that you can do to make the process more bearable for your children.

The first thing you should do when you and your spouse have decided to get a divorce is agree on how you are going to address the situation with your kids.  Ideally, you will get together to talk to them about the changes that are going to occur in the family.  When you take a united approach the children will see that they can still count on both of you.

When talking about the divorce do not share your problems with your children.  As tempted as you may be, your children do not need to be burdened with your problems, which are adult problems, which they are not at all able to deal with.  Instead, you can tell them that while you have been married for a long time, it just is not working anymore.  Let me know that even though you will not be married anymore, you are both still committed to them.

Make sure that neither of you talk negatively about one another in the presence of the kids.  This can be really difficult because the longer you are apart and the further the divorce progresses the more emotion you may feel.  Make an agreement that the two of you will never talk negatively about the other, this will help the children preserve their good thoughts about both of you during the process and as they age.

If you are talking to your friends either in person or on the phone make sure that you do not discuss the divorce or your feelings about your spouse if your children are there.  Children observe and take in more than we give them credit for.  A rule of thumb should be if the children are awake or in the building that you don’t discuss the divorce.  Let your friends know this rule so that way they can help you protect your kids throughout the divorce process.

Don’t use your kids as pawns.  You should not use your kids as a bargaining chip in the divorce.  Many people don’t think they would ever do this, and then they do.  Don’t try to manipulate your kids into spending more time with you, instead focus on getting them as much time with both of you as possible, because they need both of their parents.  Remember that your role is to protect them from the ugliness that is often the end of a relationship, not to make them a part of it.

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