01-26-2015 12:00 pm
Children and Divorce
We can try and shelter our children from many of the emotional turmoils which undoubtedly lie before them or in some cases purposely thrown their way during or after divorce. For some of us, their mere presence is or was what affects the process in a way making this type of divorce so different than one where children are not involved. If no children are “the day” then the involvement of children is certainly “the night”! There is no mistaking it, children, as hard as we may shelter them, are left to face their own process through this dreary time. And if there be one thing which helps us all to process, I believe it is conversation…keep our children talking! Well, for anyone with teenagers, this can be like prying that designer leather shoe from a pup’s clenched teeth after chasing him far under the king size bed upstairs
We all know certain questions simply generate the yes/no responses and at times merely the inevitable grunt. Perhaps the following tips will lead to more than that or maybe even a conversation.
* Any “why” questions which even lead to an immediate grunt, could lead to an in depth conversation later… make the investment and wait; it will come.
* Instead of giving answers or advice, ask their opinion on how best to handle a situation. Take any opportunity to develop this in our children. We all want to fix and make things easier for them because we have been their age before and feel our experience can expedite this period of time where they need to deal with a problem. Don’t! Instead, guide their attention to it and allow them to take ownership. Afterwards, they will be stronger and more equipped to deal with the next crisis.
* Don’t always have or lead into deep conversations. Enjoy many light ones as well. Our children have so much to analyze and digest before they even begin to deal with it all. Give them plenty of opportunity to laugh and just be present.
* If possible, protect them from painful social situations which may not be the healthiest choice for them at this time. If you notice or you’re fortunate enough that your child has communicated it to you, ask questions to guide their thoughts around the problem allowing them to take notice and steer away from the unhealthy injustice present in their lives. This is something we must do for ourselves as well, for divorce can be a cleansing period of time where good friends will come forward and the unhealthy relationships which hinder our continued growth, must be allowed to drift away.
As much as we say, the issues of our own past relations or divorce shouldn’t involve the children, and rightly so that they should not be dragged through any daily divorce muck, they are involved! Their presence created at their birth, a family, where once two, now three, four… perhaps our union was a mistake from the time we laid eyes on “Mr. Wonderful”, but their birth was certainly NOT! They need to be made sure that their life is treasured, loved and has a purpose for greatness. If one ex spouse lacks in that area, the other MUST fill the gaps without ANY grudge or bitterness. For yes, the process is dark, but in time each of these children must come out into daylight focusing ahead without any shadows of the past hindering their future, just simply radiant, walking in the sunshine with intention!