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Divorce is a time of monumental emotional pain and hardship, a time in which we need support of others to find our way back on track and go on with our life. Yet you can never forget the promise you have given your children when you brought them into this world. You still need to be the best parent you can be and follow some rules to avoid more pain.
One of the most critical ones are phrases you should say to them and things you can think of but definitely can’t say. Here are ten things you should never say to your children during a divorce.
1. Nothing will change. Everything will be the same.
Be realistic. A divorce is a separation and that will bring two different households to your children, if both you and your (ex-) spouse decide to remain in the children’s lives. Often, your kids will realize what a separation means much sooner than you think. Instead of trying to calm the situation by claiming everything will be the same, you can carefully introduce certain changes, but always make sure that they know that you are in control of the situation and they do not have to worry.
2. Your dad is a … / Your mom is a …
As much as you would want to, you need to bite your tongue on this one. Do not speak negatively about the other parent and refrain from name calling! Even if there have been hurtful things, such as adultery, a divorce is not the time to be verbally mean to your ex-partner. Remember, in the end, it will not hit your ex-spouse, but it will hurt the children and it may hurt you. Children watch closely and as they grow older, they become much more aware of what is going on. And if your partner really cheated, they will find out one day anyway. Many psychologists, by the way, suggests that an appropriate age of revealing difficult reasons for divorces is about 16.
3. It’s all your mom’s/dad’s fault.
It is easy to shift the fault for the divorce on someone during the divorce. And it may take time for you to realize what really caused your divorce. But that is not a discussion that should be held with your children and such alienation will deepen the wounds that are being caused by the separation. No matter how you feel who has caused the divorce, make sure that you always let your children know that both mom and dad love them very much.
4. Because of what you did, we have to divorce
We come across this one quite often and it is the worst you can say to your children. The simple fact is: Your children are not responsible for the divorce. Never blame them for the problems between you and your (ex-) spouse. The reasons for a divorce are beyond a child’s reach and usually relate to individual actions, bad choices and different parenting approaches.
5. I am busy.
Spending quality time with your children is essential. You should want your child to feel wanted, not abandoned. When you can spend time with your children, especially it is scheduled parenting time, be available and do not make your child feel like she/he is a burden.
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