Divorce is not something anyone plans for. When you get married, you make wedding plans, not plans for leaving your marriage. Furthermore, it’s not something anyone wants to go through. However, divorce happens. In fact, one out of every two marriages ends in divorce. Unfortunately divorce can be a messy situation for both parties involved. You will have to split up the life you made as a team which can be incredibly emotional. However, this whole sticky situation is made even worse if there are children involved. Most children are able to come to terms with knowing that their parents are divorcing. But, in the beginning, there will be many for whom it will not be as smooth. This is why you need to be there for them, no matter what.
It’s Not Their Fault
Children will often blame themselves when their parents go through a divorce. And, depending on the age group they are in, this reaction could turn into something worse. For younger children, they could become upset, withdrawn, and sad. It’s up to you to explain to them how it’s not their fault and that both mommy and daddy love them. For older children, a divorce can lead to rebellion. You need to watch your older children like a hawk, even though you really don’t have the time. Make the time- it is during these tough family times that older children get involved with the wrong crowd and head down the wrong path. Prove to them you care by being there, even when they don’t want you to be.
Don’t let it Affect Their Life
Make sure that their activities are not put at risk because of what you are going through. If your daughter has a skating lesson at the same time as your meeting with your lawyer, put the meeting off, or arrange for a friend to take her skating. It is when your children start to miss out on things that were "normal life" for them, that the divorce becomes more than just a division of your marriage- it becomes a division of your family.
Be Strong, for Them
Before, during and after a divorce you are going to feel so much emotion that you might want to explode. You need to try to save these tearful, angry, frustrated and emotional moments for when they are not around. No child likes to watch mommy cry herself to sleep or watch daddy throw a bag of clothes into the car and speed out of the driveway. You need to control these emotions as best as you can, for them.
Keep Sight of What’s Important
Your children will always be a part of your life, no matter what. In fact, they will always be the most important part of your life. This is what really matters at the end of the day. Sure, your marriage was a disappointment, but that does not mean your children are a disappointment. Also, whatever you do, do not use your children as therapy. There is a time and place to complain about your ex husband, but it is not when the kids are around. Save the venting for your girlfriends or your therapist. Concentrate on moving forward with your kids.
Call to Action
What one activity can you plan with your children this week? It can be as simple as reading a book or going to the park and watching them play if they are little ones. And if they are older, you can ask for their suggestions. A trip to the bowling alley or a theme park often works. The key is to do something special with them without going overboard.
Vanaja Ghose is a Professional Life Coach from Toronto. She has been trained and certified by Accomplishment Coaching (www.accomplishmentcoaching.com), a world renowned ICF-accredited organization. She is a member of ICF-Toronto.
Vanaja coaches women who made the difficult choice of leaving their marriage and helps them see that our biggest roadblocks come from within us just as true healing, abundant growth and amazing success also begin in the mind. Find out more about her coaching at www.LeavingYourMarriage.com. According to Vanaja, the most important role of divorce coaching is to help women break through negative patterns and defeating thoughts.
Vanaja is also an adult education facilitator and an accomplished visual artist.