When you and your partner have decided to end your marriage and divorce, it can be one of the hardest things you’ve ever had to do. Once this difficult decision is made, it is often the next step to consider how you tell the rest of the family, friends, and colleagues. An obvious concern is telling the children, whatever their age. Children caught up in divorce can become insecure blaming themselves, when it is not their fault.
Children born into a marriage are filled with happiness and love from both parents. They grow up with both parents around and look to them for support and respect. In some cases, children or teenagers will be aware that all is not good between parents with regular arguments and lack of them spending time together. However, announcing your divorce can affect their behaviour.
The first thing to consider is to work out the best way of telling them and plan a time to do this. Choose a time, preferably when you are both together and can spend however much time is needed to make it clear and go through the process. Answer any questions they may have and let them absorb the information. They may initially be in shock and need time to take it in before their questions arise later.
Finding it hard to cope with or show their feelings
Children appear calm and collected on the surface but can be really upset on the inside. They often tell both parents what they think they want to hear because they don’t want to upset either of them. Deep down, many children start to blame themselves for the breakup. They will pick minor incidents and pin the whole thing on that. In many cases, children will choose to stay with one resident parent and see the other at weekends or holidays.
Once they are settled into a routine, this is likely to be the time that their school work improves. With the divorce heavy on their minds, school work may initially suffer and so it’s important to bring them back to full potential. Children worry if they have left something at Mums or Dads which they needed for school. They would rather be punished by a teacher than feel they are the cause of a further row between the parents.
At Divorce Negotiator, we help parents to discuss what is best for their children. We can offer advice to reach out to teachers to inform them how they are feeling. Teachers can then keep an eye on them for any significant changes. There may need to be a temporary arrangement at the school until the child is back up to speed.
If this doesn’t work, there are other options but family mediation is recommended. Many parents convince themselves that their children are not affected and children can often be used as pawns. Parents can fight and say tragic things to the children but this is not the message we want to give children that it is ok to scream or call each other names.
For further information or to have a confidential discussion about your situation please telephone