Are you staying together for the sake of the children?
If you are at a point where you desperately want to separate from your spouse, but are feeling you can’t make the break because of the impact it will have on your children, then you are not alone.
However it may surprise you that a poll conducted last year by ComRes on 514 young people actually revealed that 82% of children aged 14-22 stated that they would rather their parents split up if they are unhappy.
The survey also highlighted that 60% of children felt they weren’t involved in the divorce process with many feeling their parents had not allowed them to be a part of the decision-making process during separation.
Children often feel confused and guilty during the time of separation and many admit to not really understanding what is happening with their parents during the separation and feel that it was their fault that they split up. Finding a way to include your children in the process, providing clarity and reassurance on what the future holds and making sure they are happy with key decisions, such as where they will be living after the divorce and how much time they will have with each parent , will help make it easier for all involved to work through the change and be fully prepared to adapt to it and accept the new path their lives are taking.
Younger children require extra attention and reassurance
If you have young children who are fully dependant upon you and are too young to understand the complexities of marriage and divorce, then it is best that both parents work together to make the transition as easy as possible. Younger children will require extra attention and reassurance that they are still loved by both of you and are not responsible for the breakup. Maintaining this continuity of emotive messaging from both parents is crucial. School age children will appreciate your honesty if you can help them to understand what divorce means and why it is happening. Many parents find reference books useful tools to convey this in a more visual way.
Older children may blame one parent over the other, and they may withdraw and become depressed or go through periods of poor health and want to stay home from school. You can help your child to get through this difficult time by being supportive, not arguing in front of them, and both making your child’s happiness a priority by working to ensure your child comes through this feeling loved and secure.
There are many organisations that can support families during separation and divorce. Family mediation is an excellent way to keep channels of communication open for all involved, and provides an opportunity to talk through sensitive issues in a neutral environment.