It is troubling to see the way that a conflict-ridden divorce can impact your children. Even if your divorce goes smoothly, there are many changes that might impact how your children feel about what’s going on.
The good news is that there are options to help you minimize your children’s exposure. From looking into conflict resolution options that you and your spouse can use outside the home to making sure divorce discussions are handled when your children aren’t present, you have several alternatives.
How can you minimize your children’s exposure to divorce?
To start with, it’s important to talk to your children about divorce, but you don’t have to give them all the details. Instead, it’s a smart idea to tell them about custody arrangements or to explain that you’re going to be there for them. Don’t mislead them or make promises that you can’t fulfill. Instead, just make sure they feel comfortable with changes as they happen.
As for conflict, the best thing you can do for your children is to keep the discussions out of your home. You may want to look into conflict resolution options if discussions break down into fighting and arguments. If you know that you are likely to have disputes, try to have your conversations when your children aren’t home or in a public place where both you and your spouse are less likely to fight.
Don’t talk about your personal issues with your children
It’s also important to remember that your children are not your support system. It is your responsibility to make them feel comfortable and loved, supported and secure. Though you may feel sad or angry, telling them about those feelings could hurt their relationship with you or the other parent. If you have a need to vent your own frustrations, it’s a better idea to speak with a therapist or to chat with family or friends rather than to speak with your children, no matter how old they are.
In the end, children who don’t experience the conflict of divorce may do better than those who do. It’s your responsibility to keep them in mind during every step of your divorce.