When the divorce process is just beginning, chances are you and your spouse have not settled the issue of child custody. This is a very difficult time for both you and your spouse, but most importantly, this is very difficult time for the children.
Do keep in mind throughout the divorce process that your children are powerless, hurt, and probably very confused…they do not understand why mommy and daddy cannot get along. Here are 6 tips for helping your children cope during this difficult time:
#1 – Be lenient toward them. You are going to see a lot of erratic behavior from your children during the divorce process, but try not to be too hard on them they when act out of character. They are shaken emotionally, their little world has been turned upside down. Before you punish them, be mindful that the divorce process is having a negative affect on them.
#2 – Let them open up to you. Throughout the divorce process, set some time aside to sit down and talk with your children. Try to get them to open up to you. They probably have some things they want to tell you and this is the time to listen to their feelings.
#3 – Cooperate with the other parent. This may be very hard to do at times, but for the sake of the children, try to maintain civility between you and your spouse during the divorce process. Having a civil relationship with your spouse is in the best interest of your children. If you have a misunderstanding with your spouse, be sure to settle the misunderstanding privately and not in front of the children. Seeing you get along with their other parent, will cause the children to feel more secure during the divorce.
#4 – Let them know you are always available for them. Check up on your children a few times each week and just let them know that if they ever need anything, you are always to be telephoned. Be careful not to overdo it though. By maintaining an open relationship with your children, your level of stress and worry will stay low because you have peace of mind that if something bad happens, the children will contact you right away.
#5 – Communicate directly with the other parent. As hard as this may be, it is very important that you have direct communication with the other parent. Because you and the other parent have direct communication between you, your children will not fill like they are being used as the ‘messenger’ or the ‘go between’.
#6 – Speak positively about your spouse in front of the children. Whenever you are talking with your children about your spouse, keep it positive. This may be hard to do, but it will ease the tension that your children are feeling and allow them to enjoy spending time with you.