1. Communicating with children during this phase; where best do you start?
There is no easy way to deal with this – it’s emotional and it’s scary even for you as adult.
When dealing with divorce or separation, there usually is a lot of uncertainty connected to all of this, so parents need to be extremely aware of how they communicate this to children.
Most important thing to definitely communicate to the children involved is that nothing they could ever have done, could have caused the parents to make this decision. Children are extremely self-centered; their whole little universe revolves around them and they perceive everything that happens to be as a direct result of something that they’ve done or haven’t done.
So best place to start is to make sure that they know that you love them, and that could never change and that they don’t have anything to do with the decisions that are being made.
2. Going through various emotions like anger or depression; how do you as a parent manage them and still be a reliable and great parent?
First of all cut yourself some slack – separation and or divorce is no easy matter, so don’t be too hard on yourself when you do fall off the wagon for a bit. I think its important to be honest about your feelings honest with yourself and your children. Children are extremely perceptive, they’ll know when you’re having an off day, so just be honest and say “yes mommy is having a bit of a sad day today, but we’ll be okay”.
Very important, do not bad mouth the other parent – ever! You’ll make it extremely difficult for your children if you do.
And ask for help if you need it. And I’m not just talking about counseling; If you need some time to yourself, ask a friend to go and fetch the kids at school.
3. Preventing the children being heavily affected by the separation or divorce how can one achieve this?
Truth is they cannot not be affected, there is no way –
But a few good pointers would be to:
- Let them know, over and over again that it wasn’t anything they’ve done
- Tell them how much you both love them and explain to them that a parents love for a child cannot go away even though married people may not love each other in the same way anymore
- Do not bad mouth the other parent
- Do not be over emotional when the child goes and visits the other parent – we think we’re doing good by showing how much we’ll miss them, but in actual fact were making them feel responsible for our happiness
4. Telling the kids the reasons of the divorce; how much do they need to know and how far in the process of divorce or separation do you start talking?
I think some people might differ from me here, but personally I feel they don’t have to know it all. They need to know that you as parents don’t get along well and that you need some time apart, or that you don’t love each other any more like you’re supposed to love one another and that you will be better parents and happier if you didn’t stay together.
And I feel you don’t say anything until you’ve made a very definite decision; no need to upset them if you’re not sure about what you’re going to do.
And before you consider divorce or separation, try counseling – it really does work for a huge number of people.