In our society, divorce is a common life adjustment, but there is nothing easy about divorce. Divorce is one of the most difficult and painful experiences in life. It is like dealing with death because the "us" part of you has died. Divorce means you have to build a new "you" and that may cause fear, bitterness, anger and loneliness. It takes time but at some point, you will feel better about yourself and will be able to move in a new direction.
What about the children? If you have children they too need to rebuild. Whether you have full or shared custody with your ex-spouse, it is important to know how your kids may be feeling and what you can do to help them. Depending on your child's age and temperament, you may notice one or all of the following feelings:
• Aggressive behavior
• Withdrawal from the family
Suggestions to Help Your Child
• Early in the divorce process, you and your ex-spouse need to consider who will care for the children. Will you need to modify your childcare situation and if so, can you afford it?
• Communication is vital. Talk to your child about the divorce and how it makes you both feel.
• Avoid negative talk about the other parent.
• Let your child know that you still love him or her very much.
• Make sure your child knows that this is not his or her fault.
• Avoid making children the "go-between" between you and your ex-spouse.
• Do not punish your child by withholding visitation with the other parent if you are angry with your ex-spouse.
• Do not expect your child to take the place of and the duties for, your ex-spouse.
• Move slowly into new romantic relationships.
Take care of yourself. If you aren't a good you, you may have a hard time being a good parent.
Written by Brenda Campbell
Edited by Mary Sue McClain
COPELines are published by COPE, Inc.