Face it, your kids are going to have problems with your divorce. And that’s the issue; it’s YOUR divorce, not theirs. The kids are on the receiving end of the deal and they will struggle to figure it out.
As bad as the marriage may have seemed to one or both of the parents, it is the only family the kids have known. Whatever you thought was wrong was part of ‘normal life’ to them and what may seem like a solution to you is actually a very big problem for them.
Regardless of whether the divorce was your idea or not, YOU are now responsible for helping the kids resolve the problem they now have. The solution is communication.
Naturally, since you are the grown-up, you’ll have to help the kids begin to understand what is going on regardless of how well you have it sorted out for yourself yet. So, think it through from their point of view and decide, before you are put on the spot, how you are going to describe the divorce.
Many children feel as though they have somehow caused their parents’ divorce. Studies have shown that young children sometimes believe that mommy or daddy left because the child behaved badly. Many kids think that the divorce was their fault and if they could find a way to be a better child, then daddy would come back home.
Your challenge is to be open and honest with children, though discretion should be used. A child does not need to know every detail of the breakup. Keep it on a simple level. How you handle yourself and how you act toward your ex is all being soaked up by the kids and they WILL learn from how you deal with this nasty bit of life.
A cruel fact of divorce is that just when the kids need MORE time with the parents, they are likely to be around less. One parent is now gone most of the time and the other is now facing a time crunch.
The solution is to take whatever time you do have with the kids and actually spend it with them. There are no pat answers to the questions ‘how much time is enough?’ or ‘how do I talk about the divorce?’ You have to be true to your own feelings, but at the same time realize that it is going to take awhile for the kids to understand. Take it in little steps.
Here are two facts that are true for every child and you can write in big neon letters in the sky. More communication and more time spent with them is always better than less. And kids will assume that they are responsible for the divorce to some degree and it’s up to you to prove otherwise.