You and your wife simply don’t get along. From year to year, there is more pain than love. You have two beautiful children, and you are not sure what to do. In the end, you decide to get a divorce. Still, you are worried it will ruin your kids’ lives.
We are here to tell you that things don’t have to end with a catastrophe. If you follow our guidelines, your kids and the relationship you have with them should be just fine. So let’s see, what you should and shouldn’t do.
You don’t divorce your children
You will hear this at least a thousand times, but it is worth repeating – you are a husband until the divorce, but you are the father forever. This is the most important lesson that you must always remember. Even if your ex-spouse gets the full custody and even if you like your new found freedom and the fact that your children are not around 24hours a day, you are still their dad.
When they are with you, your focus has to be on them. They will be hurt, too. They will blame themselves. Divorce is hard to understand even for adults, let alone children. Take care of them. Be there. Offer support. Show love. Don’t let them feel neglected. If you lose your kids, you will never forgive yourself.
Children learn from their parent’s behavior. When I say stay clean, I mean don’t drink, don’t do drugs, don’t gamble and don’t bring new girlfriends/boyfriends into your home unless it is serious. Don’t talk mean or ugly things about your ex-spouse in front of your children, or in front of anyone else who can tell your kids about that later.
You should give them a proper example. This is an excellent opportunity to show them how they should deal with conflicts and peacefully move towards resolution. Your children should never be the victim of your divorce. I assume it goes without saying, but don’t wreck your anger on them and never abuse them.
Your children are not your weapon. Don’t turn them against your ex-spouse. Do not tell them stories about how your ex-wife/husband doesn’t love them enough, even if you believe that yourself. Don’t use emotional blackmail. Your children don’t have to be eternally affected by your divorce if you don’t make it so.
You are an adult in that relationship, make sure it stays that way. If you need to tell something to your ex-spouse, do it, don’t tell the children and ask them to do the job for you. Be the one who takes care of kids and provides support, don’t let them become your caregivers.
Expect turns and twists
In the process of divorce, children often suffer the most. They sometimes have to go to the court, which is particularly stressful, they have to literally or implicitly choose a side, and often their life turns upside down.
You should expect different behaviors. Sometimes they will express love; sometimes they will be angry, at times they wouldn’t talk to you. Don’t be surprised if they regress in their behavior one day, asking you to help them with regular activities like dressing or feeding and then push you away when you offer to help the next day.
Be tolerant and show unconditional love. Even if they are with you only during weekends or once a month, or only on holidays, don’t abandon your role as a father. Call them when you are not together, check in with them, ask if they need anything, show concern. This way you will successfully maintain healthy and warm father-child relationship.
If you assess that your children’s behavior has become too distorted, consult a child psychologist. You don’t have to take your kid for the first visit; you can just go alone and seek information on what is expected in a given situation. Specialist’s opinion might calm you down.
Don’t buy your children’s love
This happens too often with divorced parents, especially if both sides have enough money to provide everything their kids need. Showing your love for children doesn’t mean you should buy them toys or give them money. Instead, you should spend quality time with them.
Parents might end up in the constant race of who will offer more, financially. But, kids are smart little creatures. They know when someone is buying their love and they will either be insulted or learn how to abuse your weakness. So, be careful.
Whatever you do, put your children’s well-being and happiness on a first place. Nothing matters more. At last, good relationship with your kids will help you heal your wounds faster. Love them, play with them, be kind to them and the pain will eventually go.