In part 1and 2 we talked a bit about you and the feelings you will be going through while taking the decision of divorce or even after taking the decision. In part three we will have to focus and talk about your kids because they are a very important part of you and what they go through affects you and what you will be going through will affect them even more. On top of it, that will be in the middle of all the personal problems you are going through as well.
Handling the kids during and after a divorce is such a draining experience. I am not pulling you down and destroying your moral but I am trying to give you the truth as is so you don’t be surprised later on. Did you think of how they will take it? Did you plan anything for them? Did you sit with your kids before the divorce? Did you explain to them what is going on? Did you explain why daddy would no longer be around? Your kids know already that something is wrong but as confused as kids can get in situations like these, they will want to hear some explanations from you. Don’t let them go wander with their naïve imagination and imagine worst-case scenarios.
Kids can sense any change in their home. They can tell if the jokes are no longer told and the hugs and kisses stopped between mom and dad. They can tell when you chose to no longer sleep in the same room and the frequency of this is strongly monitored by the kids. Don’t take your kids for idiots and pretend as if they don’t understand or they will not understand. Don’t think the surprise will be better for them, giving them the shock once and for all is not the best thing to do.If you don’t have the courage to do it, get some loved ones to do it for you. Someone has to take that step and it better be sooner than later.
If your divorce was a mutual agreement with your husbandthen it is better to talk to the kids together. You will need to reassure them that you both think it is for the best. You will be surprised at the questions or statements you will hear; but why? What will happen to us? Mom, we can’t live without you both together! Will daddy stay with us in the same house? Why can’t he stay? He can sleep in my room, but mom what did he do? Can’t you just kiss and forgive each other? Then the questions will go into the direction of; it is you then who doesn’t want to be with him? You don’t love him anymore? You always say when you love someone you forgive them so you stopped loving him, right?
If you are alone with no support from your ex-husband, have someone the kids trust and loveto be with you, your mother or father if they are up to the challenge. Ask your best friend who happened to be their favoriteauntie. Try not to do it alone if you have doubts about your ability to answer questions and stand strong in front of tears and little broken hearts. I did that on my own and trust me it was way too hard for me to handle. I felt that it was me hurting them; it was me holding a knife and actually scratching my kids delicate skin. It was me who had to heal their wounds at the same time. I did not know what to do so I had to improvise. But if I could go back in time, I would never have done it alone.
Tell them what is going on. Tell them that they will no longer see you and dad together but that does not mean anything bad for them. Tell them that the problems between you and him have nothing to do with them.
Now that they know all about it, be prepared for this; kids will cry. They will cry and ask for daddy, even though they know you guys are no longer together. Even though they never asked for him to be around before. They will ask you for him for assurance, they will tell you they miss daddy, they will ask you if you will get back to daddy and make up soon because they miss him.
Try to keep a calm face and tell them that you already talked about it and they know that daddy will always be there for them. Tell them that their relationship with daddy has nothing to do with your relationship with him. Tell them how much you love them and that right now you need their support because you and daddy are hurt and you too are trying to adjust. Tell them that life will go on better from now on cause there will be no more fights or screaming in the house.
Will it be easy? Nope, not easy at all, I have to admit I cracked more than once in the three years that followed the separation. I screamed and cried and asked them to give me a break and to stop with the stupid questions. I felt like telling them all sorts of bad things about what happened but I said to myself, there is no use hurting them with things they will eventually find out on their own and trust me, they did.
Get ready for something else; they will try to abuse you for their own good. Not only that, they will try to benefit from it, too. Kids adapt faster than we adults do. Anyway, don’t give in to those weird requests of “if you buy me that jacket it will make me happier, don’t forget that I don’t have daddy around anymore. I have been sad cause you and daddy are no longer together” or ”if you don’t buy me this, then take me to daddy, he is better than you are”. I used to cry the first time I heard comments like that, specially that they saw what their dad used to do with me and how much it was hurting me. They saw how much I cared for them more than he did until one day I was so frustrated with this whole selfishness and I was actually ready to send my child to her dad, so I said calmly “if that is what you really want then let us go pack your things and I will drive you to him”. It worked! Not a hundred percent but at least the tone went down and they will think twice before they say it, and they will say it.
But be careful, other kids are too sensitive to even talk about it. They would go in their little corner and hide and when you ask them if they are ok, they would say yes but deep down they are suffering a whole lot more. I had one of those too. Talk to them; please talk to them when you are calm and happy not when you are sad and miserable. They are already suffering because of you, because they are worried about you. The amount of love in their heart for you is way too much to handle and when they see your tears they panic immensely. Don’t underestimate what kids like these are going through and what they need. Sensitive kids, if you are blessed to have one, will help you later on through your own ordeal so think of giving them today and you will get it back tomorrow for sure.