Most parents that go through a divorce will at one time or another be guilty of saying the wrong thing to their kids. Divorces are emotional, and sometimes we say things we regret. But children take their cues from their parents, and our words have a very big impact on how they will adjust and react to the end of their parents’ marriage.
In past blogs, we’ve discussed actions you should take to help your kids cope with your divorce. In today’s blog, we will detail some things to avoid.
Words have major power, and the things we say matter to our children. Here are three things you should not say to your kids during your divorce.
Do NOT give them false hope
As a parent, we are naturally wired to try to make things better for our children. When they are upset, it is the parent’s duty to try to make it better. While it is vital you give your children as much love and support as possible throughout your divorce, do not give them false hope. You may see it as a harmless quick-fix to tell an upset child that you and Daddy could get back together someday, but if that is not true, you will only be causing your child more harm by giving them false expectations about what the future will look like. It is better to help them understand and adapt to the new realities of life after a divorce than cause long-term harm in exchange for a short-term emotional bandaid.
Do NOT bad mouth their father
We understand how upsetting a divorce can be. We understand that circumstances like an affair can lead to a great deal of anger against your husband. Whatever the case may be, however, you should do your best not to bad mouth the father of your children in front of them. If you have to vent about him, do it with another trusted adult. Your kids likely have a very different and more positive image of their father than you do at this point, and it will do them no good to shatter that image, particularly if you want your kids to continue to have some sort of positive relationship with their father. Furthermore, your children are 50% your ex husband, so to belittle him in front of your kids may cause serious harm to their own self-esteem.
Do NOT discuss unnecessary details of the divorce
When speaking with your kids about your divorce, your focus needs to be on assuring them that they are loved and will continue to be loved and cared for by both parents. They do not need to hear about your alimony dispute, the details of an affair, that their father is not paying child support, or other adult matters. However, neither should you try to keep your kids in the dark about everything that is happening. Be clear in sharing the information they need, and avoid talking about details that they do not need.
How you talk to your children about a divorce can make all the difference in how they adjust to this major change in their lives. Be sure you do your best to say the right things. For more information on helping your children adjust to a divorce, please contact the The Quick Law Group today.