I realize that not everyone reading this blog will have children. But this one is important enough to list anyway. One of the largest tragedies that happen when our families suffer through divorce is how it affects our loved ones, mostly our children, innocent victims of situations they have no control of.
5. MAKE YOUR CHILDREN YOUR PRIORITY
It is very easy in the midst of your chaos to focus on your issues and not see how it is affecting your children. But these children did not ask for this and they need to be protected emotionally and physically. And if you aren’t going to do it, who is? Below are some helpful suggestions to help keep their world as safe as possible:
- Do all you can to leave them out of all arguing and discussions. It is natural for all children to take on the blame for your split so do all you can to make sure they know it has NOTHING to do with them or what they may have or not done.
- Make sure that your children do not see your fights. They will pick up bad communication skills and it will affect their relationships in the future.
- One of the greatest gifts you can give your children is to not talk negatively about your spouse or ex spouse in their presence. There is one thing that you will never be able to change – they will love both of their parents, no matter what. There will be a time when they will see for themselves some of the truths and will decide for themselves the type of relationship they will have. The harder you try to convince them to pick sides, the more they will, and it won’t be yours.
- There are local co-parenting classes available. These are invaluable to the health of your family. The two of you have got to find a way to parent these kids while living in two different homes. As much as you may not want to communicate with your spouse or ex spouse, as long as you have children together you are going to have to find a way. This will make or break your children’s lives.
- Attend a Single and Parenting class through Church Initiative. It is essential to have support around you at a time like this. A Single Parenting class will give you new friends that understand exactly what you are going through and struggle with. It will provide you with excellent teaching on topics that will make you a better mom. Please go to www.singleandparenting.org and enter your zip code to find a group near you.
- Another common reaction at a time like this is to lean on your children for emotional stability. No matter their age, their job is not to take care of you. You need to find others to do that. When we put our children in the middle of situations that are way beyond their maturity level they will become emotionally damaged and we will rip their childhood right out of their hands. I’m not saying you have to pretend to be someone you are not when they are around you. Crying because you hurt is normal. But do not put the weight of your emotional condition on your children. They are not made to be able to handle that. Let them be kids, teens or young adults. They will only be this age once.
- Do not put your children in the middle of transferring messages to their other parent. That is not their job. All issues and financial concerns need to be handled between you two only.I know that this is one of the more difficult ones to follow. But at the same time it is one of the most damaging ones if you don’t.
As hard as it may be, try your hardest to follow these suggestions. And when you may fail, don’t dwell on your short fallings. This is one of the most difficult things you will ever do. And you will mess up. But don’t let that destroy you. Receive grace, apologize, learn your triggers and try harder next time. Some of our greatest lessons can be learned through us admitting we have made mistakes and apologizing and then take steps to prevent it from happening again.I hope you don’t feel too beat up.
I promise to be kinder to you on the next one. Please don’t give up, take a deep breath as we continue down this journey, and then come back and join me for #6.