Even the most amicable of divorces brings with it some tension and emotional upheaval. You likely know deep down that ending your marriage is for the best, but the process itself is inevitably going to be a stressful one. With over 50 percent of marriages ending in divorce, it may help to remind yourself that you're not alone in this situation, but sometimes, it can feel like there's no end in sight. This may be especially true if you and your ex share children.
The good news? While every relationship, every divorce and every child is different, there are some general coping strategies you can employ throughout the divorce process that might help both you and your kids make it through this stressful time to that brighter future you know is around the corner.
Divorce coping techniques
There's no one-size-fits-all when it comes to parenting advice or divorce tips. However, there are a lot of strategies you'll likely find helpful. While some of them may seem like common sense, it's often difficult to remember even basic things in the midst of an emotionally tumultuous time, and who can't use a friendly reminder now and again? Commonly accepted advice includes:
- Be patient
- Recreate stability
- Consider counseling
- Avoid negative talk and interactions
Kids aren't just miniature adults, and as such, they're going to process their feelings differently than a grown-up would. For this reason, it's important — now more than ever — to offer a patient, kind ear and let your kids know you're there to hear their feelings without judgment, even — or especially — because they may manifest their struggles by acting out at home or at school. Try not to feel guilty; instead, attempt to foster a sense of stability by creating a predictable new routine and home environment.
Of course, acknowledging your child's emotions and supporting him or her only goes so far, and if everyone is still struggling, you may want to consider counseling, even if it's something you've never done before. Therapy will give your children an unbiased ear when they may be having difficulty talking to you for any number of reasons. You might even wish to consider therapy for yourself, as you can support your children best when you, yourself, are feeling emotionally stable.
Avoid negative talk and interactions
The last point may be one of the most difficult. There's a reason you're getting divorced, after all, so refraining from negative discussions about your ex and his or her flaws is likely going to be a challenge at times. However, your ex will always be your children's other parent, so if the both of you can avoid bad-mouthing each other to or in front of your children, your kids are less likely to feel caught in the middle or as though they need to choose sides.
Furthermore, if you and your ex can try to remain civil in your interactions, your children are likely to benefit in a number of ways. Watching adults display positive problem-solving behavior can help them model their own actions in a like manner, and they'll also benefit from knowing that two people can disagree but still find a way to have courteous and even productive discussions. Not only are respectful conversations with your ex good for your kids, they'll likely help you in the long run as well by minimizing tension.
At the end of the day, you may find it helpful to keep in mind that your divorce is only a stage, a temporary part of your life on your way to a more stable tomorrow. In addition to the support of a therapist, family members and friends, you will likely benefit from the counsel and guidance from a Georgia professional in the Cartersville area who has experience, not just in divorce, but in working with families with children.