Divorce affects more than just the spouses, it can affect a couple’s children just as hard if not harder, depending on their age. Even infants and toddlers can be affected when they witness their parents arguing frequently. Small children are very sensitive and they can certainly be affected by watching their parents yell, scream and cry during altercations.
Whether your child is six months old, three, ten, or fifteen-years-old, you should be concerned about helping your child cope with the divorce. The most effective thing you can do is keep your child out and away from the conflict! The problems that you have should be worked out between you and your spouse, and your attorneys. You should not involve your children and you should not use them as pawns.
To help ease the pain of the divorce for your children, follow these tips:
- Don’t badmouth your spouse. Avoid saying negative things about your spouse to your children, no matter how much truth there is behind your negative emotions. When you badmouth their other parent, you inadvertently hurt your children.
- Don’t treat your children like spies. Don’t send your children to act as spies at the other parent’s house. Don’t try to pry information out of your kids after they’ve seen the other parent. Instead, ask the other parent your questions directly.
- Be careful of social media. Be careful about what you post on social media. Don’t say anything bad about your soon-to-be-ex spouse. If your children see the post or if it’s shown to them, it can hurt their feelings.
- Be flexible with your spouse. To ease the interactions with your spouse, be flexible about scheduling and ask them to do the same. For example, if your spouse needs to work late or take a second shift, say “yes” to taking the kids. Instead of seeing it as a burden, see it as bonus kid time.
- Focus on your children. To ease the pain of divorce for your children, spend loads of quality time with them. It doesn’t have to cost any money. It can simply mean cooking or baking together, going camping, watching movies, taking a walk, or scrapbooking. The idea is to comfort them and show them how much you love them.
If you’re worried about parental alienation, or if you’re worried that the divorce will drive a wedge in your relationship with your children, we have some advice: One of the best ways to preserve your relationship with your kids is to get along with their other parent.
It’s so simple, but it’s the one thing that so many divorcing parents get wrong. If you and your spouse can master this one trick, you’re doing everything you can to help your kids cope with the divorce.