Leaving your spouse – not your kids

From the Therapist’s Desk

Today I went to court for a child custody case for one of my clients. I was reminded once again of the ugliness of divorce. Children are often the ones who pay the consequences. Each week they come in to my sessions so broken over mommy and daddy not being together anymore. I know that divorces are a reality in our country. Here are some things that could maybe help ease the pain of divorce on children.

Your children carry the same number of Chromosomes from each of you. When you criticize each other you are in many ways attacking the child’s own DNA.

When you decide to stop loving your partner, it does not give you the right to stop loving your children.

Child support is not due because your partner hates you. It is your responsibility to continue to financially support your children. The 20% of your income is probably not enough to take care of them so don’t think that there is extra for your partner to use.

Children often feel guilty about the divorce. You can help by not making them take responsibility for things that do not correspond to them.

Don’t tell children secrets to keep from the other parent. When you do is as if you were putting a backpack full of bricks on them and then telling them to hide it.

At times you will be inconvenienced just accept this as part of it because your children did not choose to live in two different households.

Children thrive when there is structure. They need to know when and where they are going to be. Provide them with a calendar and do your best to keep the schedule.

Be sensitive when introducing children to a new partner. Children most of the time fantasize about their parents getting back together. The new relationship is viewed as a threat therefore it will not be easily accepted.

Never ask children “who would you rather live with?” Children most of the time have no choice over this and often this question just makes them feel like they are betraying the other parent.

In sharing information ask yourself and be honest “why am I sharing this with my child?” if it’s just to vent then please call a friend

When they are with you act as if they are always there and make the most of it. Don’t try to make up for lost time. Play with them, and reassure them that you are still their mommy/daddy who will ALWAYS love them.