Accepting Change – Words of Advice

Aug 30, 13 Accepting Change – Words of Advice

Change is hard. Period.

This year has been filled with change for my family – my marriage ended, we moved into a bungalow, and I became responsible for many new things. The emotions of hurt, anger and sadness are there in regards to the end of my marriage, but for my children’s sake I keep putting one foot in front of the other.

Thankfully, it does get easier daily.

The routine changes, but with time it becomes normal. The most difficult part of the aftermath of divorce has been the confusion it has caused for my children. My son will ask me why Daddy doesn’t live with us anymore, or why can’t we all go out to the movies together. I have tried my best to be honest with him (my daughter is too young to understand). It is difficult, but I have had a great support group in friends and family who have gone through the pain, change and growth that stems from a broken marriage.

Here are some of the ways that I have tried to help my children understand that divorce is not their fault, and how to accept change.

Step 1- Be Honest.

I am not saying to go into all of the details as to why your marriage didn’t work out – I certainly did not do that with my son. The amount of information you decide to give your child should depend on their age and maturity level. When my former husband and I initially sat down with my son to explain that we were no longer going to be together, he seemed fine. If anything he just wanted to go back to the computer game he was playing. A few hours later he came back to us in tears with a series of questions as to how this would affect him. We told him he would move, start at a new school, and get a new group of friends. If anything I feel a tad fortunate he is at such a resilient age. My advice at this step is to be ready for questions that you might not know the answer to.

Step 2- Be Loving.

This is a huge change for everyone involved. My son already knew a few kids that spent time at their Dad’s house and time at their Mom’s house. My daughter is too young to voice her feelings, but I am certain she is also aware of the change. My ex-husband and I have made a conscious decision to be civil for the kids’ sake. This helps to make our exchanges more pleasant, and allows us to still operate as a team when it comes to making decisions regarding our children. Letting your kids know that you still love them and that nothing that has happened is their fault can help during this difficult time.

Step 3- Don’t Badmouth.

When my ex-husband and I were nearing our divorce it took everything I had not to scream, swear and be downright nasty to him. I was hurt. I never went into marriage thinking I would get divorced. Luckily I have a few girlfriends who have also gone through divorce who were there for me to vent my frustrations and feelings. This prevented me from badmouthing my children’s father to them, something I will never do because, after all, he is still their father. They deserve to love him and have him in their lives. If you want to facilitate healing and begin your new chapter don’t speak poorly about your ex, especially to or in front of your children.

Step 4- Keep The Lines Of Communication Open.

Now, initially after you get divorced your child may not have very many questions – most likely because they are still processing what is happening. That is why I tell my son daily that if he does have any questions that he can ask his father or I and we will do our best to answer them. If you are going through a difficult time (not only divorce), let your children know that they can always go to you with any questions or concerns that they might have.

Step 5- Start A New Routine.

Routine and structure are important, especially for children, but also for us adults. Having a before school, bedtime and weekend routine can all help them to deal with other changes that might come up in our lives. The divorce has presented many changes for my children including shared custody, a new home, a new school, new friends, and more. That is why I have been desperately trying to set up our home as quickly as possible. I want my children will be able to feel secure and comfortable in their new surroundings. I also have made sure that their bedtime and weekend schedule stayed the same so that they still have some routine. I can’t control everything – believe me, I know that – but providing some familiarity can be comforting.

There will be many more changes we will experience – both good and bad. It is all about how you deal with those changes. As a parent you are not just dealing with change yourself, but with your children as well.

Has your family had to undergo any changes? How did you help your children cope? Please share…I look forward to reading about your stories of change and resilience.

 

 

 

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