The latest statistics published in 2012 indicate that 42% of marriages in the United Kingdom will end in divorce. That’s a pretty damning figure, isn’t it? It’s also indicative of how much grief can be caused when children are involved. Divorce is an upsetting time for everyone involved, but the more you can minimise the effects on your child, the better.
While you need to take time to mourn the loss of your marriage, it’s important to have your children’s interests in the forefront of your thinking. This isn’t their fault. They don’t understand the situation, so it’s only natural they’ll be confused. After all, kids aren’t known for their ability to deal with change. As far as they’re concerned, everything they know around them is suddenly different.
There are, however, some things you can do in order to make the process easier for your children. Here is our advice:
Being a parent is all about putting your child’s needs before your own. You’ve probably had a few years of practice by this point, so it’s time to use everything you’ve learned up to now. The absolute first thing you need to do is sit down with your partner and make all the necessary agreements. This can be painful, but it’s important, so stay the course.
You’ll need to come to an agreement regarding your child’s living arrangements. If you can’t make a decision between you, you may have to involve a family law service until a compromise is reached.
Next, you need to decide on access rights for the visiting parent, usually the father. All children should have the right to see their dads, regardless of the breakdown of a marriage. Try not to harbour any resentment towards your former partner, or, at least, don’t let it reflect on your children.
Reassure Your Children
It’s important that your kids know that none of this is their fault. While they won’t be able to fully comprehend the situation, some children may fear that they’re in the wrong. Assure them that this is not the case. If you can, try to give the whole thing a positive spin. Now they’ve got two sets of Christmases and Birthdays to look forward to!
Even more vital is that you remain strong around your kids. Children have a unique way of picking up on negative vibes, and this can affect their mood and behaviour. As a consequence, you may find your child becoming more disruptive at home or in school. Try not to be too hard on them; they’re going through a traumatic event just the same as you are.
Instead, focus on putting on a brave front around them. This may prove difficult in an upsetting time, but don’t allow yourself to wear it openly. Sure, take the time to grieve in private, but never around your kids. This will only cause further confusion.
If you can, try to avoid court proceedings. Instead, take a look at our guide to making co-parenting work.