Divorce is almost always a heartbreaking, viscerally painful, emotionally fraught experience —and it can be even more so when children are involved.
Divorce is painful, but there are ways, at least, of minimizing that pain.
There are behaviors that will increase your and your children’s pain, and there are behaviors that will decrease it.
Here are five things you should not do during this process, and five things you should.
Things Parents Should Never Do When Divorcing
- Perhaps the most important thing parents can do to ease the pain of divorce is to never force their children to take sides. This means never disparaging your soon-to-be-ex-spouse in front of your children, and never disparaging his or her family. When you insult a child’s parent or relative, he or she will feel as if an aspect of him or her is being insulted, and the child’s self-worth will be negatively affected.
- Never force your child into the role of your caretaker. This is what friends and family members and therapists are for. Your children should be protected from the worst of your experiences and the hardest of your feelings.
- It will take time, but work to feel at peace with what’s happening. Children are highly perceptive and intuitive, and if you can work to be okay with things, they will sense that and respond in a positive, healthy way.
- Never use your children to relay messages between you and your spouse/ex-. Leave them out of your interpersonal difficulties. Don’t burden them unfairly in this way. It is also critical to note that the Courts definitely frown on this behavior by parents.
- Do not, if at all possible, uproot your children and move away during this difficult time. The more you can keep your children’s lives stable and the same, the better. Stability during this time is so important.
Things Parents Should Do When Divorcing
- Do what you can, through therapy or mediation or introspection, to let go of or lessen your anger over what’s happening. Children are perceptive and intuitive, and they sense and internalize the feelings of their parents.
- Cultivate a civil, polite relationship with your former spouse, if you are co-parenting your children. Even if you dislike each other, remember you are partners with this person when it comes to the welfare of your child.
- Take a parenting class or two about parenting after a divorce. There is a lot to learn, and you don’t have to figure it all out yourself.
- Remind your children whenever possible that the divorce is/was not their fault. Your child should not have to feel guilty over your marital struggles.
- Love, love, love your child, and allow your child’s other parent, if that parent is in his or life, to love your child as well. Always make your child feel loved. There are many different kinds of families, involving parents who never marry, are married, or are divorced—but in every situation, a child can grow up happy so long as the parents love him or her without ceasing. Divorce is hard, but love your children. Say it and show it. Love will always help.
At Sandia Family Law, we understand how painful divorce can be. But we want to help you make it as easy or you and your children as possible.
Call us today at (505) 544-5126, and we will help you and your children with this difficult process.