Breaking up with your partner is hard enough, but when you have children the situation becomes even more complicated. It can be tough staying amicable with your partner if you're angry and upset. But you want to make the experience as easy as possible for your children, and avoid them getting too upset by the changes in their lives. Here are some ways to make a break up easier for your children to cope with …
1. Maintain Civility
It's important to maintain a civil relationship with your soon-to-be-ex. Just because they're splitting up with you doesn't mean they're splitting up with their children. Having arguments with your ex in front of the kids will distress them more than they already are - and they will sense if you and your ex are fighting, even if they don't witness it.
2. Taking Sides
Avoid trying to make your children pick sides. This isn't a battle in which they have to choose Mommy or Daddy. The relationship between you and your ex may have broken down, but you're both still the parents of your children and therefore very important in their lives. You should be of equal importance to them, even if one of you doesn't live with them.
3. Avoid Overcompensating
You may be tempted to overcompensate for the split by indulging your kids and giving them everything they want. But you shouldn't spoil your kids to try to make up for the split. Material things won't make up for any emotional upset, and you'll only encourage them to be demanding.
4. Normal Routine
It's best to stick as closely as possible to your children's normal routine. This will help reassure them that they will still have some stability in their lives. Even if you or your partner won't be living in the family home, make as few changes as possible so that your children will feel that some things are going on as normal.
5. Don't Badmouth Your Ex
However angry you are with your ex, don't badmouth them to your kids. Too often children are used as a tool against the ex-partner, and it's not at all fair on anyone. Even if your ex cheated, they are still your child's parent and your child deserves to have a relationship with them.
6. Talk to Their Teachers
It can also be useful to have a discreet talk with your children's teachers and inform them of the situation. Not only may your child find it helpful to talk to someone who's not directly involved, but the teacher can keep an eye on them and watch out for any problems developing.
7. Reassure Them
Children can think that their parents are splitting up because they themselves did something wrong. Reassure them that it's not their fault. The level of explanation you give them will obviously depend on their ages, but try to make them understand that it's nothing to do with them.
Going through a break up is hard for you personally, and trying to keep your children happy as well is a challenge. But children do come through a break up well enough, as long as you both do your best to be civil to one another. Parents fighting can often be the hardest thing for them to deal with. Do you think that parents should stay together for the sake of their children, or can they be better parents apart?