A relationship breakdown is never easy and can be particularly difficult if there is a third party involved or an imbalance of power. It is vital that you put your emotions aside when your children are around. As adults, you need to both prioritize their needs over your own, which includes being civil and reasonable. Do not speak negatively of your ex-partner in front of your children – remember, they are still your child’s parent.
Give Them a Voice
When your thoughts are focused on the changes that are happening in your life, it is important not to overlook your children’s needs. If they are old enough, give them the opportunity to share their own emotions and allow them an appropriate level of choice. This could be giving them the chance to select bedding for a new room if you are moving house or letting them decide how they split their time between you and your ex.
In an ideal world, as many aspects as possible of your child’s life will remain constant. Children thrive on routine and cope best when they know what to expect. This is especially important if your child has additional needs, such as autism. Be aware of how any changes will affect their emotional wellbeing, especially if this includes things like moving to a new area or school as well as adapting to their new family structure. Familiarity is your friend!
Be Honest About the Finality of the Situation
It can be tempting to soften the blow if your child is struggling to come to terms with the separation, but you could be giving them false hope. While telling them that mommy and daddy might live together again one day may seem a good idea, if it’s untrue, it might hold them back rather than bringing them comfort. If they are always waiting for you to reunite, it may also cause issues later down the line if either or both of you start new relationships.
When you are ready to take the next step and finalize a separation, tell them what is happening. Family lawyers such as a divorce attorney in Anaheim are experts in their field and can often guide you to support groups for families going through separation as well as helping you get the divorce settlement you deserve.
Keep your children’s emotions in mind as you move through this new chapter and use your knowledge of how they respond to change to guide your actions. Being there for them with a reassuring cuddle may be all they need to feel secure and loved.