There are so many amazing Mothers out there who have experienced divorce and have not allowed their divorce to shatter their lives. They may have been down for a time, but they never remained down – they brushed themselves off and got right back up again.
Unfortunately, there are a number of reasons why you may have decided to separate from your partner, and I am not here to judge, but to help by offering advice.
As you go through your divorce other than ensuring you get the support needed to help you to deal with what is happening and to cope with your feelings, your children also require support because just like you, this will be new to them. I have created a list of pointers and I hope they will be beneficial for you.
1. Do not keep your children in the dark, communicate with them and let them know what is happening. Explain to them that you and their father will be separating, and you will no longer be living together.
2. Tell them that it is not their fault and that nothing they have done has contributed to your decision to separate. You can also encourage them by telling them how much you love them and let them know that no matter what happens, you will always be there to support them.
3. If their father is still going to be in their lives, then it is a good idea to let them know that they will still be able to spend time with their father. Together, you and your ex can discuss who will have the children during the week and who will have them at the weekends, alternatively it is up to you both what you decide.
4. If their father is not going to be in their lives, then you should also let them know this. Explain to them why but do so in a way that is easy for them to understand. It is also up to you what you choose to share with them but think it through very carefully because words said cannot be unheard.
5. If your child starts to display negative behaviour, this could be a result of them feeling negative emotions and being confused with what is going on. Talk to them and get to the root of what they are feeling and then hug it out. Let them know how loved they are and praise them for being strong. Remind them that you also may feel a certain way, but you are trying to cope with things in the best way that you can and explain that by working together you can all get through it. They will feel that they can relate to you because they will realise that they are not alone, it will help you all to start healing together.
6. Spend more time with them and ask them what they would like to do. Take them out to watch a film or in general give them a nice treat. This will show them that nothing much will change in the sense of you bonding with your child(ren).
7. If their father is going to be in their lives, then encourage their father to do the same when he has them and do more family activities with them. This demonstrates that they will always have the best of both worlds with the both of you.
8. As much as possible, try your best to not tell your child(ren) negative things about their father. It is difficult already for all of you, so try not to contribute to it by saying things that do not need to be said. Let your children be children – some things are best left unsaid. If of course, their father presents a danger to you and your child(ren) then that is very different, you can tell your child(ren) that their father will never hurt them/you again and that together you will all focus on the future and not the past. Depending on what has happened, you have every reason to be upset, but it is best for you to vent to God, your friends and your loved ones if needs be – even if you do choose to express yourself to others, be mindful of what you share with them because not everything needs to be told.
9. A therapist is a good idea because you and your child(ren) can have a non-judgemental professional to talk to. If you feel that having a therapist would be beneficial to your child(ren) then definitely look into it.
10. Encourage your child(ren) to participate in more extracurricular activities to keep them busy and stimulated. Doing a physical activity of some sort will help them to release some of the negative energy they may be harbouring, and it will focus their attention on something else.
11. Discuss with your child(ren) ways that they can help you around the house, as per point 5, working together will help you all in the long run. Giving them their own duties, will give them a sense of responsibility and they can even earn some pocket money. It will be like having their own little job, it gives them an incentive to want to help and it will also make them feel proud when you compliment the great job(s) they have been doing.
12. Tell your child(ren) often that you love them and don’t just tell them, also take the time to show them. Words and actions work so beautifully together, and your children do not just need to hear it, but they need to see it. Reinforce this by giving them hugs and showing them affection. Regardless of what is going on around them, they should always feel secure in their mothers’ arms (and fathers’ arms, if he is actively involved). You will be boosting their self-esteem and showing them that they are valued.
13. Whilst you are encouraging your child(ren) to participate in extracurricular activities, also encourage them to make new friends outside of school too. If you belong to a religious organisation, encourage them to join in with the other children. Children need their own social networks too.
14. Always put your child(ren) first no matter what – when you became a Mother your child(ren) also became your number one priority. This does not mean that you neglect yourself, you are important too, so ensure that you have your needs met too. Your child(ren) will always know that you have always done your very best by them even when times have not been easy for you.
Do you have any other tips? Share them below!