Allowance, Love and Fun
3 WAYS TO HELP YOUR CHILDREN DEAL WITH DIVORCE
Emotions fly high when two people who swore to love each other their whole lives choose to end their relationship and divorce. Parents who are dealing with their own emotions find it often difficult to help their children go through this emotional time as well. The three strategies below will not only help your children go through the separation of their two favorite people with more ease, it will also help you feel more adequate as a parent during these challenging times.
1| Allow them and you to feel everything.
Children are very aware of their parents emotions. Even if the parent is putting on a smile but they are distraught inside, the children know. If you do not acknowledge your emotions in front of your children, they will be confused and start thinking they have to hide their own feelings.
While it is important that you let them know what you are feeling, it is also important that you let them know they don’t have to take care of it.
I was often more exhausted than usual when I picked up my kids from school while going through separation and I would say to them: “OK, mom is very tired and very sad tonight, but I still want to know how your day went. Just know if I cry, it’s not about you, ok?” And they got it. I did not make my emotions something bad and ugly I had to hide, I acknowledged them and let them be. So when my daughter one day said to me she was angry at me for not loving her dad anymore I answered “I get that. What else are you angry about?” She felt acknowledged and moved on a lot faster than if I told her not to be angry with me.
2| Look at the other parent through your child’s eyes.
Divorce is often a choice made after two people decide there is a problem between them. It’s normal to feel that the other person is “the enemy” or just wrong. But your child is not seeing them that way. For them, it’s their parent too.
It is very important that you look at the other parent, the person you are divorcing, through the eyes of your child. Step back for a moment and see that in your child’s eye, that person is not wrong, that person has not stopped loving them and that person is doing the best they can. When you are with your children, do not speak ill of their other parent. It will allow them to know they are not wrong for loving both of you. As mentioned above, let them know if you are upset but don’t blame anyone for your upset. You have the power to change that upset even if in this moment it’s hard to see.
3| Focus on the good times.
Going through Divorce does not mean you only have to be angry, sad, upset, confused, frustrated all the time, although it’s ok to feel these emotions. Find a way to enjoy this time too. A divorce means you get to create something new. A new home maybe, new friendships, new activities, new possibilities. What have you always wanted to do with your children that you did not do before because it was either the other parent’s activity or they would not want to do it? My ex husband is very creative so I often let him handle arts and crafts or “make a play” activities. But I am very creative too and now I get a lot of joy finger painting with my kids or putting on dance shows. I get to be the whole mother I know myself to be.
When you are having fun, your children will know everything is ok. They will know that even if they now have to see their parents separately, their life will still be filled with love and joy. And as a kid, that’s all they truly want.