As a divorcing parent, you may have heard horror stories about how divorce can harm your children. The bad news is that it will. However well you and your spouse handle your divorce, your children will suffer to some degree.
The good news is that once you understand how your divorce might affect your children, you can take preventative measures to limit the adverse effects.
No child will emerge unscathed when their parents split
It can be hard knowing that your choice to divorce will hurt your child. Yet, children also suffer when their parents are in an unhappy marriage and in some cases, they suffer more. Here are some ways to make it easier for them:
- Dedicate extra time to your child during the first years: Children adapt to new situations quickly, but you need to give them additional support while they adjust. Look at adaptation as a process where sometimes your children will need to take two steps backward before taking one forward.
- Maintain a good co-parenting relationship: Telling your children that everything will be okay is pointless if they can see it is clearly not. Your actions speak louder than your words, so you need to find a way to keep relations between you and the other parent civil.
- Do not use your child as a pawn: Although divorce might feel like a game of chess at times, your children are not chess pieces. Avoid anything that makes them feel they are caught in the middle of a high-stakes match between you and your spouse. Your children need to be free to be children and to do whatever comes into their heads. They should not have to plan one move ahead and think, what will mom say if I do this for dad or vice versa.
Getting help to handle your divorce efficiently will leave you more time to focus on your children. It will also help you to close one chapter of your life and to start enjoying the next chapter as soon as possible.