Some married couples believe that staying together for the children is the best thing for them. In fact, when it comes to women getting divorced, this seems to be the number one reason they give for staying in a broken marriage. However, the reality is that this might be more damaging to the children than the divorce itself. So if you staying in a failed marriage, then consider the following:
Constant arguing in the household or even stony silence between parents is more harmful than the divorce itself. Most children will come forward after their parents’ divorce and reveal that they are actually relieved by the divorce. Fighting in front of your children has harmful and lasting effects. When you are in the midst of fighting with your spouse, take yourself out of the “ring” and actually focus on your child’s reaction to what is going on. Is this what you want your children to think is normal in a relationship? Remember, parents set the greatest example for their children and the relationships they form later in life. It is up to you to be cognizant of this at all times during your divorce.
Children are more intuitive than you probably give them credit for. They may not articulate like an adult, but rest assured that your pain and unhappiness is impacting them in a big way both before during and after your divorce. Do not try and hide what is going on because chances are they know something is wrong and life at home is not normal. Be honest with your children but speak to them on an age appropriate level. They appreciate straightforward answers when questions are asked. There are many books out there worth reading that address how children interpret and articulate at different stages of their life.
Even if your child expresses that they are siding with you in the divorce, know that deep down they do not want to feel like the middleman or as ammunition. Bottom line, this is something you should never do. They do not want to take sides or gather information about your spouse at your request. In fact, some divorcing parents take this so far as to engage in outright “parental alienation.” Put yourself in your spouse’s shoes. Would you want this done to you?
Another big misconception is that you can buy your child’s affection during divorce. Although all children love gifts, if you overdo it especially when there is no special occasion or reason to warrant the gift, it will undoubtedly make them feel uncomfortable. Without a doubt they will sense the real motivation behind your actions. Don’t fall prey to this common pitfall.
Lastly, keep in mind that children need time to heal just as much as you do. Life after divorce is an adjustment for them just as much as it is for you. Two homes and two different lifestyles means that children will need time to acclimate and figure it all out at their own speed. Do not rush the process and engage a child therapist to help if necessary.
After the divorce is all said and done, realize that this is a chance for you to become even closer with your children. Always put them first, just like you did during happier times. In the end, the transition will go smoother than you may think.
At the Law Offices of Sylvia S. Costantino, Esq., we are not just divorce lawyers, we care about your family and how the div