Separation and Children

Keeping the Focus on your Children During your Separation

Children will feel a variety of emotions when learning and dealing with your separation. They may feel responsible, sad, happy, guilty, nervous.. a whole range which can often be unpredictable. During this entire process, the best thing you can do for your children is love them. Spend your time with your children with them, not on the phone with lawyers, not talking with other adults, no negativity toward your soon to be ex. Asking your children about your ex can make them feeling guilty, or put in the middle. Try to open honest communication with your ex about parenting, and what happens while the children are with either party. While you may fear your ex is ‘poisoning’ your children with their side of your separation, don’t fret. Even as an 11-year-old, I was keenly aware of both my parent’s faults and it was obvious to see when one party was lying. Everything will become very clear with time, and your children will hold onto their relationships with you, regardless of water under the bridge. You are still a family, no matter the new description. Keeping this in mind will help both you and your children move forward past your separation.

Keeping Your Children’s Lives Normal During Your Separation

Children can easily get lost in the shuffle throughout a separation. Try to be there to remind them that even while you are separated you and your ex love them just as much. Be willing to listen to their feelings if they want to talk about your separation, be open and as honest as you feel necessary.
The most important thing you can do as a parent is keep their relationship with you as normal as possible. Do the same things you have done with them before your separation. Nobody responds well to change, children being at the top of that list. By creating a normal atmosphere, your children will adapt more easily to their new lifestyle. While it could be tempting to punish more lenient, or indulge them with treats or presents, try to keep your schedule routine. When their life changes drastically in too many ways, your children could start to cope with other mechanisms. Throughout my parents separation and divorce, I would sometimes deal with the chaos by ignoring school work; everything in my life was so upside down. I had no routine, and didn’t know what to expect next. Help your children better throughout your separation by constantly focus on getting back to normal, not trying to make up for guilt.