In my work as a divorce attorney, I sometimes need to call on my experience as a single mom, and I sometimes need to call on my experience as a child of divorce. Today’s blog is about the latter. It’s about giving kids their youth, not putting them in the middle, and keeping the drama to yourself.
In both my personal and professional life I have come across divorced parents who say things to kids they think are helpful but, in reality, are not. Things like, “I miss you every minute you are with your dad,” “I wish we were together when you are with your mom,” “I cry when I don’t see you,” and “I’m so sad when you’re away.” The intention, I know, is good. The effect, however, is the very opposite of what is intended.
Telling your kids you love them is to be commended, but you have to remember your kids worry about you. When they are not with you, they worry you are sad and they feel responsible. When they are with the other parent and having fun, they worry they are being disloyal. When they forget to call or they don’t text back right away because they are enjoying their time with their other parent, the thought that they have let you down is crushing.
So what is a parent to do? You have to let your kids be kids. You need to assure them you are ok, that you can take care of yourself, you love them and know their other parent does too. Kids want both of their parents to be happy and it is our job as parents to do that on our own. To keep the kids out of it. To understand a child has two parents. To appreciate a child having fun with the other parent is exactly what you should want. Because having a child who is happy in two homes is a good thing. And a parent who can appreciate and nurture that is even better.
There are resources available to children and adults to get through a divorce and help after. The family law attorneys at Paule, Camazine & Blumenthal, P.C. can help assist you through the process and provide you with information.