When you and your partner have decided to call it a day on your marriage, you know you have to tell the kids. Your children’s happiness is the most important thing to both of you. Without a doubt, the news that one of you is moving out of the family home will be upsetting to them. So how can you make sure they will be OK while you and your Ex figure out how to formally break up?
The first thing you need to do is show you are both still able to parent together. This may mean spending time with each other during special occasions even when you’re feeling upset with each other. Let the kids know that you both love them the same. Assure them that they can have access to both of you whenever they need it right now. This could go some way to you both agreeing custody and access amicably.
You should also hire a Family Law solicitor, so you don’t have to deal directly with the legal issues. Break ups leave us all very raw emotionally. Things can be said and done that help neither party, and you may both regret. Leave all the legal side of your marriage break up to the experts. They can take the pressure off, leaving you both to look after the kids at this difficult time.
With one parent out of the house at night, your kids may start to feel less secure. Their bedroom is the place they need to feel most safe and happy to ensure a good night of sleep. While it may be painful for you at first, a picture of their Daddy by their bedside can be so comforting for your children. Nightly phone or Skype calls for a bedtime story could prove very satisfying for a small child.
While it sounds obvious, you should never use your kids to hurt your Ex. It’s you he has left and not them. When your children are with him, he should also be respectful of you. Both of you should speak positively of each other to the children. Neither of you should try to keep the kids from contacting the other. Don’t forget, sometimes it’s the kids that are running late when it’s time for them to be dropped off.
You may be feeling a lot of negative emotions like sadness, anger, and loneliness. But it’s important not to show those to the children during a separation because it’s too easy to blame the other parent for the feelings. Instead, show the kids you are both happy with your new living arrangements. Most importantly, show them that you are happy with the children coping with it so well.
Try not to change anything in the kids’ routines. Don’t start giving them treats and presents if that’s not what normally happens. The last thing either of you needs is to have the kids expecting such things ongoing. Try not to fish for information about your Ex’s life from the kids either. They are very clever at picking up your reactions. Give them plenty of cuddles and give them time to talk about your new lives. After all, you both love them dearly.