THE BLOG

Children of Divorce - Making Sure They're Alright

26/09/2014 15:38 BST | Updated 25/11/2014 10:59 GMT

Divorce needn't be hell for all parties concerned.

There are ways of coping without destroying one another and hurting your children in the process.

One of the most important bits of advice that I was given when going through my divorces was not to go it alone. It's not worth the hassle and risk to your health and wellbeing nor that of your children.

Having said that, not going it alone doesn't mean picking the one person whom you know will protectively fan your flames of anger, hate and resentment as opposed to the person who, despite how you feel, will continuously strive to get you to not only make the right choices but also keep you in check when your emotions try and rule over anything else.

Once you find this person, and it might be the one you least expect, you will then be able to focus more on your children's wants and needs at a time when they need you the most - when their world as they know it, is coming apart and they find you, the adult in the room, available and there for them.

So what exactly helps children of divorce cope with this permanent change in their lives?

Here's a short list:

  • Keeping your child in mind

  • Keeping your child in mind

  • Keeping your child in mind

Think of the times when your child was a toddler.

You would go off to the park and at some point or other you see him/her walking towards the swings completely unaware of the 9 year old child who is swinging away to his/her heart's content.

I'm almost certain that at this point, you dropped all that you were doing, rushed over and scooped your child up just before the seat of the swing caught his/her temple.

With a sigh of relief, you hold him/her, glad you saved them from would have been a very painful experience and potentially serious injury.

Same thing in divorce - when you see that your children are in the way of being hurt, scoop them up and take them to a place of safety.

This place of safety can be made up of any of the following and more:

  • Not rising up to your ex-partner's abuse, torment or passive aggressive behaviour while the children are present or within earshot

  • Getting a third party to help with the transition periods and any communication necessary. You really honestly don't have to see nor speak to one another. There are several ways around this. One lady I knew had a friend read any emails from her ex who would then only relate back what was important, if anything

  • Not treating your children as mediators, messengers or advisors

  • Remembering that their other parent is exactly that, a part of them so avoid speaking disparagingly about them either in front of your children or within earshot - they don't like it and don't need it

  • Closely tied to the last point, remembering that they do have an extended family which consists of grandparents and cousins from your ex-spouse's side, and they need to be able to keep these relationships going - again it's all part of whom they are

I promise you this, keeping your child in mind will help avoid so much hurt and pain now and in the future. Granted that it's not the easiest thing to do during a divorce, especially in a high conflict one, but it can be done and it gets easier with practice and with the right sort of support.