Always Remember Your Children During the Divorce
While you shouldn’t try to use your children as a substitute for adult companionship, don’t neglect them either. Continue the same activities with them as much as possible and slowly weave them into your new life. Keep close to them as you move through your transition.
If you are moving out of the home, don’t move out of your children’s lives also. Glide into your new relationship with your children by dovetailing it with the existing one. You are still their parent; that will never change because of a problem you have with their other parent. Tell that to your children. You cannot overdo the assurances you give your children that this isn’t their fault, and that you will still be there for them. Smooth, as much as possible, the transition by maintaining your involvement in their activities.
Share your concerns with your counselor if you believe you should avoid or defer divorce for the benefit of your children. Your existing environment may be filled with conflict and far worse for their development than two, secure households.
Irv didn’t separate from his two children when he separated from his wife Linda. He still picked them up from preschool. He stayed with them at his parents’ home on occasional weekends, as before. He continued to do many of the same activities with them on weekends. Irv minimized the trauma to his children and laid a factual foundation for a favorable custody arrangement in the future.
Find ways to stay involved in as many of your children’s activities as possible. Pick them up and drop them off at their meetings, games, practices and parties. It really doesn’t matter what the activity is; what counts is you’ll be spending time with them, involved in their day-to-day life. You’ll know what is important to your children because you’re right there.
You may find another adult in a similar situation. If you have young children, and his or her children get along with yours, all of you may be happy with a change of environment and shared activities. The adults can bend each other’s sympathetic ear and lean on each other’s shoulder, or simply enjoy the time. A day at the playground may take on an entirely new dimension. Someone to share the supervision of the children and who is empathetic to your problems can turn your afternoon into a re-energizing session. Other people’s problems always seem easier to solve, so you may get, and give, some good suggestions.