Parents contemplating divorce are always concerned about their children. We all know individuals who stayed together for the kids, despite their unhappiness and sometimes untenable situations. Research has shown that children suffer much more from the conflict they see than from the divorce itself.
Some important misconceptions:
- The kids will be traumatized: There’s no question the children will be affected. There will be huge changes in their lives, but they will adapt. Kids are much more adaptable and resilient than adults.
- I have to keep the house for the kids: Moving is tough for anyone, particularly when your parents are going through a divorce. Involve your kids in the move. Show them where you’d like to move. Give them a say in decorating their rooms. Treat it like an adventure rather than a terrible chore.
- My kids will hate me: Your children may be angry with you for a while but at the end of the day, kids love their parents no matter what, even in the worst of circumstances. Showing them unconditional love is how the best thing you can do even if you’re not feeling it back.
- I’m a lousy parent: If you keep the kids out of the divorce process, you may never be a perfect parent (do you know any?), you will be the best parent you can be. Don’t put the kids in the middle, don’t use them as the messenger, don’t bad mouth the other parent. Those are the cardinal rules. Let them be kids.
- Their lives will never be the same: In fact, their lives will never be the same. In time, there will be a new normal and you will all adjust. Keep routines the same, allow for some emotional outbursts (for you and them) and most importantly, let them know that you love them and are always there for them, even if they are not physically with you.
The most important thing for your children is that they are loved and cared for. Your relationship is a model for your children. If all they know are two parents who fight or don’t even communicate at all, that will be what they believe is normal. If you can resist the urge to include them in the fight, keep their routines as familiar as possible and offer extra hugs, you will all be okay!