If you and your spouse have decided to end your marriage, this may be the healthiest possible decision for you both to make for your family. But even if this is the case, your divorce will affect your children in negative ways for some time. Just as you will not walk away from your divorce without being forced to grapple with some challenging emotions, your children will similarly struggle in the immediate future. However, if you approach the divorce process and its aftermath in healthy ways, every member of your family has a good chance of emerging from this time of transition stronger, healthier and even happier than before.
If possible and prudent, you and your spouse should try to resolve your divorce amicably. Of course, when a marriage is plagued by domestic violence, true narcissism and/or other complicating factors, litigation may be your best option. But if you and your spouse are in a position to resolve your differences relatively peacefully, pursuing some form of alternative dispute resolution may lower the stress levels of everyone involved in your divorce, including your children.
It is also important that you take excellent care of yourself and your children right now. If you or your children could benefit from counseling, a gym membership or any other healthy change, now is the time to invest in a healthier approach whenever possible. Children need to understand that the divorce is not only not their fault but also that you and your spouse are still capable of taking care of them. Embracing a healthy lifestyle is key to this assurance.
Finally, please protect your children as much as possible from any stress and drama associated with your divorce process. They will pick up on your stress, so while it is human to have genuine emotions about the process, when it is possible to keep the stress away from them please help ensure that it is indeed kept far, far away.
Source: Huffington Post, “5 Ways to Protect Children During Divorce,” Deborah Anderson Bialis, Nov. 25, 2013