Divorce Behaviors That Undermine Your Children, Part 3: Emotional Wellbeing
Here we are, part 3 of this 3-part series, and this is the MOST IMPORTANT TAKEAWAY because divorce is a life-altering event in anyone’s life story. Regardless of how you feel about your spouse, divorce is about your children, and nothing else is more important. Divorces are often angry, stressful, and upsetting. Your children are not the source of those feelings, and it is your job to ensure your child thrives during YOUR divorce process. So let’s talk about the affirmative actions you need to take to help the ones you love most – your precious children.
Countless professionals say it’s not the divorce that affects children, but the way the spouses manage the divorce. In high-conflict situations, children’s emotional responses are highly influenced by watching how their parents act and communicate during the divorce process. Allow your children to show their emotions and encourage them to talk about how they are feeling.
Speak With Them – not at them. Hold an interactive conversation. Divorce is confusing and your child will have questions. Let them talk about the divorce, ask questions, and then provide answers that are age-appropriate, respectful, balanced, and unbiased. Do not trash-talk your spouse. You and your spouse will go your separate ways after the divorce, but each of you is still your child’s parent.
It’s Not Their Fault – divorce is the decision of the parents, but children often feel guilty. It is your job to reassure them that it is not their fault. Your child needs to know both parents love him/her and have their back, no matter what your true feelings are toward your ex-spouse.
Their Feelings Are Valid – Are you listening to your child? Avoid the temptation to reframe or recharacterize their feelings. Engage a counselor to give your child a safe space to talk about the divorce. As they grow and develop, these positive encouragements teach children how to work through difficult situations. Counseling is a great resource for the parents as well, to help them navigate the process and work through their own feelings during the transition.
All Things with Love – There was a time when love brought you and your spouse together. A time when the birth of your child was celebrated. Reassure your child that you both love them and will be there for them even after the divorce is finalized. Then act on it. The more amicable you keep your divorce now, the easier the graduations and weddings will be years from now.
Build a positive relationship with your ex to honor your children and their welfare. Move forward with integrity, dignity, and strength. Your children are watching and learning. Choose to be empowered. Empowered parents raise empowered children.
At The Law Firm of Poppe & Associates, our focus is relentless advocacy for our clients. If you or someone you know is considering divorce, reach out to schedule a consultation: (212) 792-9501.
Mia Poppe, Esq.