The summer holidays are all but over. A new school term looms. For some families, this will mean the time has come for Mum and Dad to go their separate ways. If this is you, how should you prepare your kids for divorce?
- Prepare yourself first. How you behave in front of your children over the next few weeks and months will have an enormous impact on how well they are able to cope. Be your best version of yourself – at least in front of the children.
- Strengthen your support network so that you can be your best version of yourself.
- Create a support network for your children. Create a group of people who have agreed to look out for your children, to listen to them and to pay them special attention. It could be grandparents or teachers or friends who have taken a special interest in your children.
- Make time to listen to your children. Listen to them about their new school term, their triumphs and challenges. If your children know you will listen, they are more likely to share their problems with you when they are worried.
- Plan ahead together with your ex. When and how are you going to tell the children? What will be the arrangements for your children in the short term, whilst you work out the longer term plans? Where will you each live in the short term, whilst you work out the longer term plan? Are there new partners involved, and, if so, how and when will they be introduced to the children? Don’t try and solve all of the big issues, but work out short term solutions that can buy you a bit of time whilst you work out the longer term plans.
- Think about what will stay the same for your children. Plenty of focus and concern is going to be on the changes, but much will stay the same and it can be helpful to reassure children of those things that won’t change – for example your love for them.
- Be a role model. Remember that how you divorce may have more of an impact on your children than whether you divorce. And how you divorce is in your control. It may not be totally in your control. It will take both of you to create a good divorce. But your behaviour will definitely have an impact on the course of the divorce, so be the role model.
- Think about who else you will tell once the kids have been told. Their school teachers? Their friend’s parents? Your wider family and friends?
- Make commitments to your children and stick to these commitments. For example, you can choose to commit to encouraging their relationship with the other parent and keeping them out of any arguments you have with the other parent.
- Consider mediation. It is a better place to have those difficult discussions than in front of the children.
If you are wondering where to start and what to do next, get in touch and we can arrange a free, no obligation telephone call to work out your next steps. Call Polly on 0770 651 3496 or email on firstname.lastname@example.org