Ending your marriage can be one of the most stressful times of your life. If this is a bad time for you, imagine how it must feel for your kids. When children’s family dynamic is suddenly changed, it can be deeply upsetting. We are not saying you should remain in a miserable marriage for the sake of the kids – there is evidence that shows staying in a bad marriage is even worse for children in the long term. However, there are ways you can handle your Chicago divorce that may help your children adjust and accept these changes.
How do you address the topic of divorce with your children? The key is honesty. You can be honest about the split in an age-appropriate way that your kids will understand. For younger children, they may need a simple explanation such as, “Mommy and Daddy have been fighting so much, we think that living apart may help us get along and be better parents.” Older children will need a bit more information, but you can still keep the explanation appropriate, especially if it concerns sensitive subjects.
During the divorce process and while you are co-parenting in different households, the way you treat each other is important. You may be dealing with raw, difficult emotions, but you should not air out your conflicts in front of the kids. It can help to approach parenting as a business arrangement, with the well-being of your children a common goal.
You will need to listen to your children’s needs and concerns during this time, and reassure them that they are loved by both of you even if you no longer love each other. Establishing consistent routines in your new household can give your children a sense of stability. Even if your ex does things differently, your kids will understand what is expected of them in your home if you stick to the rules. You can also come up with new family traditions that may help ease the blow of a divorce and make new, positive memories.