Going through a divorce is a strain on the whole family; not only are you and your spouse struggling to get through the process, but your children are too. The truth is, any negative emotions you may be dealing with are probably present in your kids, along with a healthy dose of confusion. If you really want your children to have a healthy view of your divorce, it’s best to know the hard facts, however unpleasant they may seem. This way, you have all the tools available to help your kids cope. Below are five hard facts you need to know about divorce.
- Your kids ARE going to struggle. A lot of people rely on old adages like “children are resilient,” or ones that rely of the divorcees “putting on a happy face” for their kids. While it’s true that processing your own emotions as healthily as possible will have a positive effect on your kids, your children are still bound to have a great deal of confusion about the divorce. Divorce might have seemed like the absolute right decision for you, but your children probably have a lot of questions and conflicting emotions. It’s important to address these questions and validate their emotions so your children can begin to understand why the divorce is a positive thing.
- One of you (or both) are going to show their ugly side. It’s inevitable, with the built up animosity and the added stress of the divorce process, that at least one of the spouses is going to show their not-so-favorable side. The spouse might feel angry, betrayed, lost, hurt, or any combination of difficult emotions. This will probably manifest in some erratic behavior, which in turn will probably provoke the other spouse into reacting. In the midst of all this drama, there are your kids, absorbing all the negativity with little knowledge of how to process it. Don’t forget, just because your spouse is now your ex, does not mean they are no longer a parent. The better off your spouse is, the better off your children are. As frustrating as it might be, treating your spouse with respect and empathy is necessary for the well-being of your child.
- Divorce is not a magic cure-all. One of the hardest aspects of divorce with children is the fact that you can’t sever ties with your spouse as definitively as you’d like. You still have to interact with them as parents, which can be majorly frustrating. As a result, there will still be problems; the things that always annoyed you about your spouse will still be annoying. You might still butt heads. In fact, new issues will probably arise as a result of the divorce. Getting a divorce will not solve all your problems by a long shot, but if you give it some time, eventually you will recognize that it was worth it.
- Technically, divorce is a failure. By the very definition of the word, divorce is a failed attempt at marriage. This is not to say that divorce isn’t valid. But to properly heal, it’s more healthy to acknowledge it as such. It is tempting to sugar-coat it in a way that sounds more positive, but in the end, a divorce is a failed marriage. The thing is, a divorce is a learning process. Through it, you probably learned a lot about your spouse, and more importantly, about yourself. Looking at your divorce in the most blunt terms is necessary for your emotional healing.
- It’s a struggle- and that is okay. In movies and television, divorce is often romanticized as some sort of awakening for a character. It’s utilized as a plot device that often ends in the divorced character transforming entirely and conquering their divorce. This is another way of sugar-coating a divorce. In reality, it’s going to be hard; not only do you have to process your own emotions in a healthy way, but you’re in charge of your children’s well-being too. It probably won’t be easy. But, through struggle is where true growth happens. No, you might not be a transformed, infinitely improved individual after your divorce. However, without a doubt you will have learned a great deal, and gotten stronger.