When divorce enters into your life, you get to reel from the emotional shock and pain of it. I understand that because I went through it too. But I’m also here to tell you that if you have children, you must tighten up your emotional belt and set your own doldrums aside. When you are going through a divorce, the welfare of your children should come first.
Growing up is difficult. Divorce challenges you to grow up and you’ve already got years and years of living experience under your belt. It’s hard for you to handle. But you’ve got children to consider and they don’t have the experience you’ve got. It’s doubly hard for them to handle. So here are some things you might tell them to ease the blows of your divorce.
“When the judge makes a decision, he does it by seeing what will benefit the children the most. Your daddy/mommy and I will be using that same idea. We want what is best for you and that comes first with us.”
“I know that this is difficult for you. It’s difficult for me too, but we can be here together and go through this difficult thing together, okay? I’m not going to let anything bad happen to you. I’m going to take care of you always and forever.”
“You know how everyday we have daylight first and then we have nighttime? And do you remember how some days are sunny and some days are kind of grey? The reason is because CHANGE is a big part of how life is. What are some other ways where you have seen that change happens? Red lights, green lights. Cold milk; warm milk. Young kitties; older cats. Well, our life has a big change and it’s called divorce. You’ll have your own room at mommy’s house and you’ll have your own room at daddy’s house too. That’s a change, too, isn’t it?”
“Have you seen mommy and daddy arguing? How does that make you feel? Mommy and Daddy argue too much and we are having a tough time stopping. We have decided to get a divorce and mommy will be moving into another apartment. You’ll spend some of the time with her and some of the time with me. This is not your fault. We think you are our perfect child and we tried really hard to stay together, but it has to happen like this. You did not do one thing that made this happen. Mommy and Daddy made it happen.”
When you tell your children about the divorce, create a setting that is fun for them – like a park – and when you’ll have plenty of time for the discussion. It should be on a non-school day so they will have time to ask lots of questions and get the answers they need. They probably know that something is going on, so have an open discussion with them. Do whatever it takes to ask them enough questions and supply great answers so that they can see they have nothing to blame themselves about. Explain the court’s custody solution at the level they can comprehend. Tell them simply what they can expect will happen. If they ask you why this is happening, they don’t mean the divorce. They want to know why this is happening to “them.”?”
Assure them that you will help them to get a grip on this big change, that you and your spouse want the best for them, and that you’ll be working together to take care of them. Your divorce and the child custody arrangement deserve their understanding.