Divorce can be a difficult time, both emotionally and financially. While it is perfectly natural for feelings of anger, stress, sadness, or anxiety to make you want to withdraw or lash out, it is important to remember that, as a parent, your actions and reactions can have a profound effect on your children.
We understand that it can be a struggle to hold it together when it feels like things are falling apart. Keep in mind, though, that your children are going through a time of change, and it is your responsibility to navigate them through it and make their transition as smooth as possible.
If you are going through a divorce, remember these do’s and don’ts:
- Showing and coping with emotions in a healthy way is important. While you should not share with your children how frustrated, distressed, or depressed you feel about your divorce, that does not mean that you should not show any emotion at all. Children should not be your emotional support; it is your job to be theirs.
- Children need both of their parents in their lives, so be respectful of the time that your children get to share with your ex. Foster a spirit of cooperation so that your children get to enjoy regular contact with both parents. This means keeping promises. If you tell your kids you are going to be somewhere, be there!
- During visitation times with the other parent, give your kids space and privacy. Don’t make them feel like you are monitoring them.
- Don’t undermine or complain about the other parent in front of your child, or ask your children to tell you all about your ex-spouse’s activities. You can’t control the behavior of your ex, but you can control your own house rules.
- Divorce can be tough, but strive to model self-reliance and resilience rather than allowing yourself to be a victim. Being a strong role model sends your kids a powerful message about being able to bounce back from difficult life events. You can have an active role in showing them that when bad things happen, they do not have the power to ruin our lives forever.
- It is never too late to take steps to make your relationship with your ex-spouse more civil. The best situation for a family is when parents can cooperate. However, if you simply cannot get along with your ex, then at the very least do what you can to avoid conflict. This will contribute to the best outcomes for your children.
The choices you make and the way you behave during a divorce can have lasting consequences on the lives of your children. Being a good role model for them often means keeping your feelings and reactions to issues with your ex-spouse private. Remember that your child is not your therapist; seek an adult outlet to vent your feelings to. While divorce can be a difficult time of transition, children are resilient, and can still thrive when they see that their parents are happier and more fulfilled in their personal lives.
Are you considering a divorce? Please contact a Colorado divorce attorney from Feldmann & Nagel, LLC for all of your divorce and family law needs.