When parents decide to divorce, the first people they think of is their children.
Will they be ok?
Will they wish we had stayed together?
Should I stay with their other parent until they're older? Is this too hard on them?
All of these questions are exactly right. As a professional, I can tell you that your children can be ok through divorce. In fact, they can grow up just as happy and healthy as children in two parent homes, as long as several things happen. In order to make that happen, there are only 3 things needed:
- You and your ex need to work together.
- Your children need to develop their own relationship with both of their parents.
- The kids need time to figure out their new normal.
Many times, when parents decide to get a divorce, their first thought is to tell their children that they love them and that will never change. What happens next during divorce proceedings can take the gloves off. Each of the parents believe they're doing what's best for their kids, but believe the only good thing for the kids is their way. Learning to co-parent, even with the most difficult personality, is the easiest way to ensure your children thrive through divorce.
When you're married, your children develop their own relationships with you and your co-parent. When you get divorced, that still needs to happen. Many co-parents are worried that their children will love the other parent more or that their children would rather be with the other parent. I know I did! Those are normal feelings to have, but they're about you, rather than being about the children. If you notice that those feelings start taking over, it's time to find some emotional freedom and some confidence. Kids love both parents and will develop their own feelings naturally. The more space and respect they're given to do that, the better the chance of them thriving.
Speaking of space, this is a transition for everyone - especially the kids. Give them the space they need to figure out their new lives. They're traveling between homes, which turns out to be a good thing for them, but it's a change. They're living with two different sets of expectations - even if you have the same rules. They had Mom and Dad at home everyday and now they don't. Check in and give them space to develop a normal that makes sense to them.
Kids can prosper after a divorce, it's just a matter of making sure they have everything they need.