It's not easy, but they're counting on you.
If you're separated and/or divorcing, you surely have a lot to manage (logistically and emotionally). In addition to your navigating the ups and downs of divorce yourself, if you have children, you're likely worried about how they're handling it, as well.
Here are the four things your children desperately need from you right now:
1. They need you to love them as you always have.
You know your love for your children hasn’t changed and kids should know, by having you tell them explicitly, that you love them now as much as ever.
2. They need you to let them love their other parent openly and enthusiastically.
You are getting the divorce, not your kids. Although they may see you express emotion, and that is OK sometimes, they should know that loving their other parent is a good thing too. This is true even if you have been betrayed, lied to or just feel let down.
3. They need you to STOP saying nasty things about the other parent.
We are all human who may occasionally make mistakes, but try, for your kids’ sake, to explain things that happen during the divorce without criticizing their other parent (even if you, personally, feel frustrated or heartbroken by them). Kids are part of their other parent's lives, whether biologically or through adoption, so taking the other parent down a peg knocks them down too. Don’t do it.
4. They need you to take care of yourself (so I don’t feel like they have to).
You may be sad, angry, and disappointed, but you also have a life to live. You have at least one child who is watching what you do as a model for their own life. How do you want to show them that you can and will manage what has occurred? If you play the victim and act helpless, will they think it’s their job to step in?
Even if the only way to see yourself through the divorce is to imagine it through your child’s eyes, do so.
It’s the rare parent that doesn’t want more for their own child than themselves. Create opportunities for fun, even joy, and over time it will make a difference. Your children will see this, too.
Of course, it's challenging to do these four things when you feel overwhelmed by the divorce yourself.
So, additionally, be mindful who you hire to help you during the divorce. They're energy and approach will impact your state of mind (which impacts your children significantly). Choosing professionals wisely at the beginning, can help de-escalate rather than inflate conflict.
Consider speaking with a divorce coach who can serve as an objective thinking partner offering you neutral support as you make major decisions for yourself and your children. A coach does not tell you what to do, but helps you frame your thinking to make good decisions that are in your best interest (and your children's) emotionally, financially, and/or legally.
To speak to a Divorce Coach who can help you navigate the challenges ahead, contact DearDivorceCoach.com
This article was originally published at Dear Divorce Coach website. Reprinted with permission from the author.