Ending a marriage is never easy. Heidi Lewis shares her tips for making your separation as kid-friendly as possible.

When it comes to divorce everyone suffers. Here’s our tips for making ending your marriage as easy and painless for the kids as possible.

Parenting through a divorce is an incredible challenge. Here’s some great advice on how to put the kids first when everything feels like its falling apart. Your children will thank you for this in years to come.

Believe it or not there’s a good, bad and worse way to divorce. Heidi Lewis shares her tips on making a separation as kid-friendly as possible (even when your ex is an a-grade $%^&!)

Whether you hate his guts, he hates yours or its ended quite amicably, separation is tricky when kids are involved. There will inevitably be hurt feelings. Usually there are feelings of guilt, shame and blame. To be honest it’s going to be a bumpy ride, but there are things you can do to make the roller coaster a little more family friendly.

Avoid Trash Talking
He cheated. She lied. He’s a lazy asshole. She’s a selfish bitch. You’re going through hell, just trying to keep it all together for yourself and there are little people relying on you. I get it, it’s incredibly hard. Sometimes the ex will do something that honestly really pisses you off. On purpose. You want to vent…. But please don’t. At least not where the kids can hear you. Little ears listen in to phone calls and conversations they shouldn’t.
Your ex is an extension of your child. They love them and the last thing they need right now is to feel torn or put in the middle or grown up stuff. This kind of talk gets inside their psyche and they begin to doubt their self-worth. Have a wine with the girls sans kids and let it rip instead!

Don’t Make the Kids the Messenger
Talking to him does your head in. It’s just easier to have the kids relay the message that he needs to send their reader back to school/return clothes that belong at your house/pay that child support he forgot last month. Discussion of property settlement is also a no-no. Even if the message is sent in a friendly tone, this is grown up business and you know what happens to the messenger right?

Answer Questions Honestly and Simply
Kids need questions answered about why their lives have suddenly imploded. It’s best not to blame anybody, and absolutely make sure the kids don’t have any cause to blame themselves. Don’t shut them out and do answer the ‘whys’ as best you can.
Older kids might want a little more detail, but keep it simple. They don’t need to know Dad caught Mum in bed with the neighbour. Use your discretion to sensibly satisfy curiosity. Remember anything you say will probably get back to the other parent and it’s best to avoid asking your kids to keep secrets.

Routine
When everything is falling apart kids need routine to feel safe. Do your best to stick to your normal family routine. Discuss or draw up a co-parenting plan as soon as possible so everybody knows where they are going to be and when. Hopefully your ex will be cooperative in this. If not, Family Relationships Centres across Australia do a fabulous job of providing counselling and mediation.

Do stick to your normal discipline regime. Believe it or not your kids will appreciate the boundaries.

Don’t try to overcompensate or compete with the ex. You will just exhaust yourself and your budget. Your kids will resent you when you can’t keep that up forever.

Side Note…
If you have experienced Family Violence please seek advice from a Family Counsellor or Domestic Violence counsellor.

Author

Heidi is a teacher and single mum of four who goes to gym in order to indulge her love of cheesecake. Raising kids with ADHD and Aspergers is fast, chaotic and often hilarious, but she wouldn't change a thing. Heidi recovers with good chick lit, writing and Netflix after bedtime.

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