Splitting up with your partner is one of the most stressful events you can go through in life. Your world is turned on its head and regardless of who initiated the split, both parties will be feeling a sense of loss and disappointment. When you have children together those feelings are compounded. Here are some suggestions on how you can cope with a divorce or separation as a family.
Give yourself time to grieve
Ending a relationship means there will be loss and grief. There is no fast-forward button on the grieving process, everyone experiences it differently. Just because it took a friend three weeks to feel accepting of their breakup, it may not be the same for you. Avoid comparing your circumstances and allow yourself to move through your emotions at your own speed. If you try to skip over the anger and denial phases, the process will take longer. You will feel a sense of loss over the family unit you created, the plans you shared and the family dreams you once had. This can feel profound so know that it is okay to feel very sad, and remind yourself that the pain will ultimately make you stronger and won’t last forever.
Reassure your children
When it comes to your children, one of the most important things you will need to do is to remind them that they are not responsible for your separation or divorce. Explain that they will always be loved and that despite the changes, things will become easier in the future. Understand that your child’s feelings may be mixed, perhaps they want to meet your ex’s new partner or maybe they are very averse to it. They may be angry in one instance and excited in another. Tell your children that it’s okay to feel confused about things, it’s important to express how they feel and reassure them you are there to listen and answer any questions they have.
Stay committed to routines
Predictable patterns make children feel secure. When a big life change like divorce occurs, usual routines can be disrupted. Work towards creating new routines or re-establishing old ones as soon as you can. Bed times, school pick ups and lunchtimes should be as consistent as possible to help regulate your child’s emotions. If change is inevitable, let your children know about the change way in advance, and help prepare them by talking about it. For example, when they are ready, show them a picture of the new house you are moving to and ask if they like the garden or what they want in their new bedroom. Let them ask questions and be sure to listen.
Don’t shy away from talking to your children
Keeping the dialogue open between you and your child can help them cope with changes or new circumstances. Special events like birthdays can be challenging for parents and children. who may feel torn and as if they have to choose who they want to spend time with. Talking to your child about what they want helps, but remember to not make them feel guilty for their choice. Set a good example by showing a diplomatic response and explain how you can spend time with them the next day. Ultimately, children need to know they have a safe, loving family around them even though their parents may no longer live under the same roof.
A final point
Finally, it’s important to look after your own needs during a family break up. Worrying about your children, making new living arrangements, managing property sales and finances all at once has the potential to induce lots of anxiety. Take time out when you can to socialise, relax and recalibrate to help you deal with what is happening at the moment, and don’t forget, this period in your life won’t last forever.
This is a really helpful post. Thank you very much for sharing it for me and everyone to know.