Helping children cope with divorce … work with your ex
Conflict between parents — separated or not — can be very damaging for kids. It’s crucial to avoid putting your children in the middle of your fights, or making them feel like they have to choose between you.
Rules of thumb
Remember that your goal is to avoid lasting stress and pain for your children. The following tips can save them a lot of heartache:
👍🏾Take it somewhere else. Never argue in front of your children, whether it’s in person or over the phone. Ask your ex to talk another time, or drop the conversation altogether.
👍🏾Use tact. Refrain from talking with your children about details of their other parent’s behavior. It’s the oldest rule in the book: if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.
👍🏾Be nice. Be polite in your interactions with your ex-spouse. This not only sets a good example for your kids but can also cause your ex to be gracious in response.
👍🏾Look on the bright side. Choose to focus on the strengths of all family members. Encourage children to do the same.
👍🏾Work on it. Make it a priority to develop an amicable relationship with your ex-spouse as soon as possible. Watching you be friendly can reassure children and teach problem-solving skills as well.
The big picture
⭐️If you find yourself, time after time, locked in battle with your ex over the details of parenting, try to step back and remember the bigger purpose at hand.
⭐️Relationship with both parents. What’s best for your kids in the long run? Having a good relationship with both of their parents throughout their lives.
⭐️The long view. If you can keep long-term goals — your children’s physical and mental health, your independence — in mind, you may be able to avoid disagreements about daily details. Think ahead in order to stay calm.
⭐️Everyone’s well-being. The happiness of your children, yourself, and, yes, even your ex, should be the broad brushstrokes in the big picture of your new lives after divorce.
Helping children cope with divorce … know when to seek help.
Some children go through divorce with relatively few problems, while others have a very difficult time. It’s normal for kids to feel a range of difficult emotions, but time, love, and reassurance should help them to heal. If your kids remain overwhelmed, though, you may need to seek professional help.
Credits – Amanda Buys