It is difficult to still believe in love after your divorce. And the process becomes even harder when there are children involved as they are the casualty of the failed marriage. As a parent, we understand that you want tips on how to give your kids a great childhood after they witness their parents’ marriage collapsed. And your apprehension that your divorce might affect their view of love and marriage is valid. Don’t worry though because you can do something to help your kids still believe in love after your divorce.
Understanding Your Children’s Experience
Obviously, children are greatly affected when their parents get divorced. Parents would claim that they know what their children are going through. While parents have the best interest of their children in mind, the divorced parents’ interpretation and understanding might be clouded by their own emotions about the divorce. This can create a gap between the parents and the children.
According to Dr. Robert Emery, Director of the Center for Children, Families and the Law and Psychology professor at the University of Virginia, one of the effects of divorce to children is that it increases their risk of suffering from behavioral and psychological problems. During the period immediately preceding the divorce, parents may observe the occurrence of anger, rule violations, and disobedience issues. Indeed, divorce is a stressful and trying time for the children. In his book, The Truth about Children and Divorce, Dr. Emery revealed that children have painful memories and persisting worries about divorce. Among such ongoing worries is the question of whether they are still loved by their parents. When not addressed appropriately, such can affect children’s outlook on life.
Ways to Help Your Kids Still Believe in Love after Your Divorce
A lot of divorced parents worry that their children will develop indifference toward the idea of love. This worry is normal and reasonable. But you can prevent your apprehensions from coming true through the advice from The Huffington Post and these tips:
• Show your children that they are loved.
Children affected by divorce have the tendency to blame themselves for their parents’ divorce. They think that if they were more behaved or have done better in their studies, their parents would have not broken up. Such feelings and thoughts decrease their self-worth and if not reversed, could negatively affect their view on their capacity to form and maintain relationships. Parents should reinforce their children’s importance and specialness. Often, parents think that words are enough to show this. However, children are more observant of their parents’ actions. The proper way to reassure them that they are loved and they matter is by being emotionally available and present. Praise them and notice the simple positive acts that they do.
• Assure them that you will not leave them.
One effect of divorce to children is that it creates in them the fear of being abandoned by their parents. A lot of uncertainties loom after divorce. This period, if not handled carefully, might cultivate fear of separation, which in the long run may develop to a fear of entering commitments. The parent-child relationship is the source of security of children. In a child’s perspective, his parents keep him safe from the world. Be careful in assuring your children that both of their parents will still be there for them despite the divorce. And be sure to really commit yourself in keeping your promise.
• Nurture your relationship with your ex.
Children look up to their parents and are greatly affected by them. When your child visits or spends time with your ex, demonstrate that you are happy that they are spending time with each other. A lot of parents are guilty of unconsciously making their children take sides. Whatever the reason might be for your divorce, make sure to leave your kids out of it. Do not destroy your children’s image of their other parent. Although you might have grudges against your ex, your children do not need to know about them. Once they see how harmonious or civil you and your ex are, they will develop a more positive feeling toward divorce. You can show them that divorce does not always equate to squabbles and ruined relations.
• Teach them to never give up on happiness.
Finally, show your kids that there is life and love after your divorce. What they see in their parents after the breakup will greatly influence their overall view of the process. If they see what a wreck you have been, then they will most likely run away from relationships. But if they see that you managed to move forward and grow, then they will likewise embrace your divorce and their future relationships with a hopeful disposition.