Protecting your children from divorce? How do you begin? Here are 4 top tips to help you co-parent through your divorce.
Protecting your children from divorce is not always easy. Especially when you find yourself in the middle of a painful, challenging and deeply depressing breakup that sends you into fight or flight mode. You forget to not retaliate when faced with your Ex attacking or threatening you, especially when you already feel vulnerable. If you have kids, it is important to remember that your divorce is primarily about them rather than you both.
It is hard as parents when going through pain filled tough life events, to not be triggered. Divorce bags are likely to be stuffed full of raw emotions, deepest fears and experiences that at a moment can take you back to your childhood or later. Then one day, when you are fully in ‘hurtsville’, it is easy to forget and explode, have your Achilles heel kicked and the children are exposed to exactly what you would not have them be exposed to elsewhere – anger, arguing and sadly sometimes violence. Holding on to painful emotions and trying to manage them when you are exhausted, stressed and overwhelmed when they spill out into your life, create proper life carnage along the way for all involved. And those you love – your children the most are usually in the middle of the crash.
|Photo by Annie Spratt|
Divorce is a separation, and really, if you have children this means that the two need to sort your stuff out in order to make it good for them. Simply it is no longer about you and your Ex. We all know those ageing parents who still continue to harbour anger, bitterness and unpleasantness towards their Ex, my god, all those years holding all that toxicity inside…
So what can you do? You can get healthier emotionally, mentally and physically. Be kinder to yourselves first so you are able to extend kindness to your Ex and begin as grown-ups, to build a firmer, albeit different foundation for your children. They are managing what is happening as they see it, do you really think they can handle dealing with the backlog of everything that their parents have been carrying around for years as well?
|Photo by Caleb Woods|
Holding onto pain, shame, guilt and anger is the emotional appendix of our life. When it bursts it is dangerous, it damages our health, our bodies and our emotional well-being. The fall out is our children carrying a whole load more than they need to.
Here are my thoughts on protecting your children through your divorce:
|Photo by Carolina Sanchez B|
Communicate Away From Your Children: Until you are in a better place to show your children you are indeed two human beings who can be kind to each other know this.
Your children are not equipped to deal with the level of emotions flying around between you and really do you as a loving parent want them to? Find a place – go for a walk, preferably up a big hill to take some energy out of your conversation to start with. Have someone be with your children so you can talk elsewhere. Go to meditation if you can afford it – dig deep, borrow or find the money to go to mediation. Wherever you and your Ex go to talk, go with a positive intention to listen, talk kindly, gently and chunk it down so the topics are manageable.
Children Have Spot on Radars – do not underestimate the obvious negative energy mass swirling between two people that your children pick up on. They know before you do that there is trouble brewing. They know how you are feeling before you’ve even seen your Ex for a meeting. Be mindful of how you are feeling in front of them before a drop-off or pick up. Take deep breaths, check in with yourself, if you need to try this mini-meditation. As parents we are in the thick of our thoughts and we do not always see clearly, but children do, they know. They have a mighty fine 6th sense.
Sit on Those Emails – so back in the day my grandmother used to say simply “Sleep on it”. If you have big emails, communications to have, write the email or text, put it into draft and sleep on it, sit on it for an hour, distance yourself from the emotion of it for a while. AND do not be thinking that drinking wine is going to make you a divorce wordsmith – because it just isn’t. Entering into a communication battle is not going to help the situation and ultimately is going to impact on your children’s, yours and your Ex’s mental health. This aint going to help anything.
No Talking About Your Ex – no matter how mind exploding, anger-inducing and frustrating our Ex’s can be, just try not to talk about them in front of your children. Growing up in a household where this happens scars children for life. It is just a whole load of stuff that your kid’s don’t want to know about, carry on their tired stressed shoulders or hear. If you really feel the need to vent about your Ex then go do it, a good shout out at the top of a hill worked for me, go for a walk or drive and scream it out (safely) shout away to your heart’s content. Try if you can not to chew it over with others every time you disagree, it’s like spreading the negativity. Get into the habit of writing it down rather than calling your friends again – you’ll feel better that you didn’t go complaining again to them.
Book a FREE 20 min call with me, get a counsellor or therapist if you need to talk about your Ex. What you think about their father or mother are your thoughts, your children are half of that person. There is evidence now to show this impacts on children’s self-esteem as they grown up, if they have had a parent talk negatively about the other. And do you really want your children growing up thinking that all those things you hate about your Ex could just be in them too?
If you are feeling in a high conflict zone and want to take a step to looking at things differently please take a moment to download my free 5 Secret Divorce Tips.
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