6 Things Your Child Needs to Hear You Say During the Divorce Process

No matter what people try to tell you, divorce is an adult centered process. The Child has little or nothing to say about the huge changes happening in their life. In a previous post, I mused about the impact of divorce on children. It is the duty of the parent to support the child and make the process, the changes as easy as possible. To conquer the challenges together.

I Love You!

I Love You!

1. ‘I Love You’

It seems like an open door. Of course you tell your child you love him/her, but this can be a time of extreme emotional turmoil for kids, especially young kids. They need the assurance of your love during this time. They need to hear it!

2.’It’s Not Your Fault’

Teenagers respond different to divorce then young children, but unless they are really young, at some point they are going to wonder if they are at fault for causing the divorce. Assure your children that they are not the cause of the divorce.

3. ‘Both Parents Will Stay Involved in Your Life’

Joint custody or sole custody for 1 parent should make absolutely NO difference, the other parent will always be the other parent and as such should contribute to, and be part of the child’s life. Sometimes children (and parents for that matter too) think that because there are 2 houses, 1 parent is less important than the other. They are not! Research has shown time and time again that it is not the amount of time a parent spends with the child, but the quality of the time. Assure the child the other parent is still important, regardless of living in a different house, regardless of how much time they spend with the child.

4. “It’s OK to Love the Other Parent”

Because there are 2 houses some children think they have to choose sides. Nothing is more damaging to the long-term emotional wellbeing of children then having to ‘split’. I recently read the book by Melissa Jesperson Moore “Shattered Silence“. She is the daughter of a serial killer and despite the horrific things her father did, she still loved him. I doubt your ex is a serial killer. Assure your child they can express love for the other parent.

5. “Talk to me about your Feelings”

Just like parents go through stages before accepting and moving on from the divorce, children have stages of grief to get to acceptance. It is the parents job to help them with this. If you are too absorbed with the emotions of the divorce, it can be helpful to get the assistance of a qualified therapist. Realize that kids may express anger with you and/or your ex. Make sure the child’s emotions are reality based and don’t cultivate emotions (negative towards your ex and positive towards you) that are unjustified.

6. “It will be OK”

Their lives are up-side-down, your life is up-side-down, and you’re supposed to tell them “It will be OK”? But it will, it will be ok after some time. You can empower your children! Take this opportunity that life gives you, to teach resilience. You can teach them to overcome adversity by modeling how the negative things in life can lead to personal growth and success. When they see you succeed, they are armed with resources to overcome what life throws at them. And it will be OK, it just may take some time.

In the tumultuous time that is called divorce, parents can be a source of strength and stability for the child. You can help your child, hopefully together with your ex. Even if your divorce is high-conflict, you individually can ease the pain of divorce for your child(ren). That is what being a parent is all about, help them grow.

7 Stages to Accept the Life Change Called Divorce: Acceptance and Moving On

In my previous posts I talked about Denial & Anger and Bargaining & Depression. acceptance-road-signFinally, acceptance and moving on with life is around the corner! If you are reading this at the beginning of the divorce proceedings, rest assured, you will get there too! It may seem impossible at the moment, but after a while you look back and can no longer imagine you stayed in the marriage for so long, or that you were that distressed about the divorce. Yes, it was life altering, but things are so much better now.

Acceptance

“Your relationship may be “Breaking Up,” but you won’t be “Breaking Down.” If anything you’re correcting a mistake that was hurting four people, you and the person your with, not to mention the two people who you were destined to meet.” ― D. Ivan Young

Acceptance begins when you accept your grief, it slowly peeks around the corner. Through your tears there is that little light of hope. “I’m going to be OK”, you are coming to terms with the end of the marriage. You are accepting the situation without trying to change it.

When you can let go of the marriage and the life that was, you’ll discover your strength, your peace and your serenity. The struggle is over, you have let go of your resistance. It is beginning to feel good.

Don’t confuse acceptance with tolerance. Tolerance still implies there is some resistance. It still is a road block to living your life to the fullest. It means you haven’t completed all previous stages.

Embrace Your New Life

And so life does move on. Not only should you accept the divorce, but hopefully you have used it as a life experience that moved you into the direction of a better person, a better parent. Self acceptance is important now. Be loving and happy with who you are now. Make an agreement with yourself to appreciate, validate, accept and support who you are at this moment.

This self acceptance leads to a new life with new possibilities that did not exist before, because you were caught up in the struggle against reality.

Embrace the possibilities that lay ahead of you! The past is the past, happiness is in the present and the future.

Start Dating

Starting to date is a whole new adventure in itself, that at most requires a few posts of itself. I’m excited to start the journey of dating.

One of the things that has been important to me is that I didn’t want to start dating too soon. I would probably enjoy the company, but at the same time, I don’t know if I would have been such great company. You often hear divorcing dates only talk about their ex and the divorce. You are much more interesting and desirable when you have embraced life again for yourself. So I waited. Good things do come for those who wait!