Ending your relationship with your partner is likely one of the most emotionally challenging processes of your life. You probably hoped for the best and devoted yourself to creating a fulfilling future with your partner. Now, you wonder what kind of lifestyle you will have, how much time you can spend with your children and whether you will be able to remain in your home.
In addition to your individual concerns, ending a marriage can have a devastating effect on everyone involved. Children are resilient, yet in the midst of an escalated battle with your partner, your kids still rely on your support to navigate their perceptions, fears and feelings about what is happening with their family.
How can you help your children cope?
While you might dispute how property should be divided, children tend to express themselves in other ways.
You may begin to notice aggressive behaviors. Grades could decrease. Your kids may get quiet, depressed or clingy. Keep in mind this is a common reaction to the family strife and not the fault of either parent.
No matter how your children initially accept the news of your breakup, they will rely on you for assurance, guidance and stability. They will also learn about how to handle themselves in painful situations by observing your responses to the betrayal of your hopes and dreams.
Involving your kids in the intimate details of your breakup is unhealthy and unfair. Meanwhile, there are plenty of ways you can help without over-sharing information that should remain exclusively between the adults. To help your children process:
- Minimize conflict. When conflict can’t be avoided insulate the children from the discussions and details, Children often side with one parent or the other during escalated situations. Rather than creating an atmosphere of distrust, deal with adult issues apart from the kids.
- Provide a welcoming environment for sharing. Allowing them a safe space for your children to openly express themselves is vital to their development and mental health. Focus on their feelings, not your own
- Respond to each of your kids as individuals. Depending on their ages and personalities, your children have different needs. For example, one may require quality one-on-one time to talk, while another might prefer more opportunities to ride their horse alone.
As you and your partner negotiate for a resolution, remember that healing is a process and the journey for each family member will be unique.
Your continual love and understanding can lay a foundation for your children to accept the changes taking place and look forward to establishing new routines and traditions.