Divorce is never easy. If you throw the subject of kids into the table, it definitely takes a whole new level of stress. But, parenting is a matter you can’t avoid in divorce. In fact, the earlier that you get parenting stuff in order, the better. At the very least, you and your soon-to-be-ex should be able to ask yourselves these questions to figure out how you can navigate the break-up with the least negative impact on your kids:
How do we explain the divorce?
It’s important that both of you are on the same page. Otherwise, it will create confusion on your children that it may cause them to blame themselves for why your marriage has come to such a situation.
Discuss with your spouse what you plan to say. Remember to keep it simple, but comprehensive. You should be able to tell your kids what exactly is going to happen, why you’re splitting up, and what the set-up is in the future. It may go something like, “Mom and dad are having problems. We’ve tried sorting things out, but we can’t fix it, so we’re getting a divorce. Dad’s going to live in a different house, but you can visit him every now and then.”
It’s also important to reassure your kids that your love for them doesn’t change and that none of this is their fault. None of this is your partner’s fault — at least that’s the message you want to put across to your children. Your talk with them isn’t a time to trash talk your spouse or put the blame on them. Otherwise, you’re going to jeopardize your co-parenting set-up later or the divorce proceedings itself, making it more stressful than it is.
What’s the best custody arrangement?
Child custody proceedings are among the most intense, emotionally-charged court hearings. It’s often due to the fact that both parents want to get sole custody. Sometimes, spouses tend to put the other party in a negative light, so the court will favour them.
In the end, whatever the result is, the two parents grow even more apart that shared parenting becomes a burden, if not impossible. The kids then are caught in the middle of two angry, bitter individuals, which does make a negative impact on the children’s formative years.
Try to avoid this kind of conflict. With all the patience and grace you can muster, come to an agreement with your spouse on a custody arrangement that will uphold the best interests of the child. According to divorce lawyers and other Townsville-based practitioners, you increase the chances of your spouse honoring court orders when you have this type of talk before hearings start.
How do we help kids deal with the possibility of new love partners?
This is one major issue that affects most kids in divorced relationships. A lot of them experience jealousy, insecurity, and guilt when a parent introduces a new partner. The key here is timing.
Understand that your children will have a different timeline when it comes to healing from your broken marriage. You may have moved on and felt it right to date again, but your kids might not be ready for a new person in their life yet, so wait until they’re healed.
Perhaps you can drop hints every now and then. Ask them what they think about you finding love again. When they get upset when you bring up this topic, it’s a clear sign that they need more time, and you may have to wait some more.
Divorce takes a huge toll on kids, but you can reduce its negative impact when you ask the hard parenting-related questions. Cooperate with your spouse and discuss these matters.