Women who find themselves in the unenviable position of getting a divorce often struggle to deal with the implications that this life change will have on their daily existence. While it can be difficult to see past the hurt and fear that associates with the dissolution of a marriage, moms have the added challenge of explaining the event to their children. While nothing can prevent your child from potentially facing emotional turmoil as your marriage ends, with careful consideration and an effort to educate your kids, you can help them understand the process and prepare for the changes they will face.
Need to Know Basis
When going through a divorce, it is important to safeguard your children from some of the emotional trauma associated with the life change. To keep your children safe, don’t provide them with more information than they need. Your children do not need to know the specifics of why mommy and daddy are splitting up. Keep this, along with any ill-words you have about your spouse, to yourself.
Read All About It
Start your divorce education with some reading. Picture books can help your children develop an understanding of what divorce means, particularly if they are quite young. Try books like,”It’s Not Your Fault, Koko Bear” by Vicki Lanskey, which follows Koko Bear’s journey though his parent’s divorce, “Dinosaurs Divorce” by Marc Brown and Laurene Krasny Brown about a child dinosaur worried about what his parents’ divorce means to him. “I Don’t Want to Talk about it” by Jeanie Franz Ransom centers around an older child struggling with her parent’s separation.
Acting Out the Change
Show kids that a divorce doesn’t have to be scary by role playing the change with them. Using your children’s dolls or stuffed animals, act out an amicable divorce. For example, you could use two teddy bears to represent a mommy and a daddy and a little bear to represent the child. Explain that now mommy and daddy teddy are going to live apart, placing them on different sides of the room. Reassure your child by showing him that just because his parents are no longer together doesn’t mean that they don’t love baby teddy anymore.
Question and Answer Time
Many parents, perhaps embarrassed about their divorce, try to push the issue under the rug and avoid talking about it. While this practice may seem like it makes the problem go away, it really only confuses your kids. After explaining divorce, allow your children to ask questions about the process. By asking questions and receiving answers, your children can develop an understanding of how this divorce will change their lives.
Present a United Front
When divorcing your spouse, you will likely feel a lot of tension with the partner who once promised to stay ’til death to you part. Regardless of how angry you feel, it is vital that you not let your children see this. When dealing with your kids, present a united front and show your kids that regardless of what happens with you and their father that you will both still be part of their lives.
- man and woman divorced image by Ivonne Wierink from Fotolia.com