One of the most serious challenges divorced parents face is maintaining the emotional wellbeing of their children after a divorce.
We all want to give our children a better world than the one we came into. No matter who we are, however, the cause and effect of our lives on theirs has unforeseen repercussions. Families that experience traumatic incidents — such as death, divorce, or failed marriages — have children who are more susceptible to mirroring the mistakes of their parents.
The break-up of your marriage was very hard on you and your ex, so you can only imagine what trauma your child feels about it. While your children may not have been privy to all the ups and downs that went on between Mom and Dad, they did witness some of the anger and tears.
Children, particularly the younger ones, tend to feel responsible for things that go wrong. Why? Because, in their mind’s eye, their world revolves around them. Then, like ripples in a pond, their world includes those most important to them: their mother, their father, their siblings, their pets, their friends, their teachers, then others who cross their paths.
That is why you must be certain to leave them with these four messages:
Remember that your children are very susceptible to your anger, pain, hurt, regret, and fears. If you need a confidante, don’t make it your child. Instead, go to an adult friend or counselor who has the maturity to understand your anguish and to help you through it.
I’ve elaborated on these messages below:
Message #1: Make sure your children get the message that they were in no way responsible for the break-up of your marriage.
Message #2: Be honest with your children about the fact that the relationship has ended.
Message #3: Let your children know that both parents have the right to find happiness in other relationships.
Message # 4: Your children need to know that they do not have to make the same relationship mistakes their parents made.