Click here for Part I of Susan’s article on Divorced Dads and Absent Fathers.
- Deciding to tell the children together enables the children to see their parents being respectful, behaving in a fair and reasonable way, trying to stay civil and manage the transition as well as possible.
It allows an opportunity to show that they’re co-operating, providing time to answer questions, presenting a united front.
It’s important for children to see that this was a joint decision, not a matter of Dad deciding to walk away and leave them. Personal issues between parents can be minimised at this time to avoid one parent being perceived by the children in a bad light. Children rarely need to be apprised of too much detail about the split.
- Provide stability and routine and let children know how they will be affected by any changes to their living arrangements. If possible try to keep their routine as familiar as possible as children like to feel secure and settled.
Grandparents may be able to help if they have the time and patience to add extra support, good listening skills and a safe pair of hands. Inform teachers so that they can be attentive to any changes in the children’s behaviour and provide extra understanding and support if necessary.
- Children need to be reassured that they are loved and will be able to see their father regularly, will be able to communicate by phone or email whenever they want or need. Hopefully father will continue to live in the vicinity, otherwise seeing the children for a quick visit, taking them to school or attending parents evenings can prove difficult.
- New partners can be a difficult area for ex-partners and for children.
Be sensitive to the children if there is a new girlfriend on the scene. Some men choose to live on their own for a while after the divorce to give their children time to settle and become accustomed to the new domestic arrangements.
It’s best to tentatively introduce the idea of a girlfriend to the children, letting them see her occasionally, for short periods until they get used to the idea.
Children are not stupid, they often understand far more than they admit, but being respectful of them and equally demonstrating respect for their mother allows children to become more accepting of everyone’s need to move on.
Divorce is often a time of huge disruption for children.
Over time they get used to tension between their parents, come to accept arguments as normal but this in no way means that it’s ok for them.
When parents decide to divorce it is important for them to be sensitive to their children’s needs and help them come to terms with the situation.
Take time to listen to what they say, how they behave and appreciate the impact that enforced changes and upheaval have upon their young lives.
About Susan Leigh
Susan Leigh is a Counsellor and Hypnotherapist who works with stressed individuals to promote confidence and self belief, with couples experiencing relationship difficulties to improve communications and understanding and with business clients to support the health and motivation levels of individuals and teams.
For more articles, information or to make contact please visit http://www.lifestyletherapy.net