People become single parents for so many different reasons, some more messy than others. Whatever your reason is, you must look to the future and leave the past behind you. “They” say (whoever they might be!) that it take at least 2 years to get over a separation or divorce….that’s the bad news. The good news is that you are not alone and it WILL get better, I promise!
Whatever age your children are, be they cute babies, trying toddlers or hormonal teenagers, it goes without saying that we all want the best for our children. Sadly our children are learning that life is not perfect. It is our job though to ensure that they grow up to be well adjusted children with a belief and security that they are loved very deeply.
There are a few points that I believe are imperative that our children know:
- They need some degree of truth about what is happening (age dependant)
- They need to know that it is NOT their fault at all
- They haven’t been abandoned
- They are loved and valued
- They are not expected, or even allowed to take sides
- Mum is mum, dad is dad, nothing will change that
- They still have family, it’s just a different shape now
- It’s ok to feel sad or upset
- Mum and dad are not getting back together
It is our role as parents to ensure that we consider what is best for our children. When you are in the thick of a separation or divorce, it is sometimes so consuming that it is easy to forget about the little people around us. We are so wrapped up in our own sadness, hatred, denial, anger, bitterness and grief that it is all too easy to get stuck under that black cloud. However, by thinking about our actions and behaviour from a children’s perspective can often help us see the wood from the trees.
Ask yourself…..Is what I’m doing to their dad for the children’s benefit or to serve my own agenda? Is this more about me or the children? Am I using the children to get back at him? Am I trying to get them to take sides? Every time your children hear you say something negative about the other parent, you are indirectly criticizing half of them too. We must keep our thoughts to ourselves…….or at least until a friend comes over with wine when the children are asleep!!
It is true that children are resilient but they are also very capable of keeping an enormous amount inside. They may not be fine, so talk to them and help them to open up and tell you their worries. A great deal of their worries can be dealt with easily. I remember my daughter saying to me “If daddy has gone, who will be my daddy now?” It broke my heart but I obviously hadn’t explained to her that her daddy will always be her daddy no matter where he lives.
In the eye of the storm, children’s need should and must be paramount, not trapped between parents or go-betweens. As parents we need to recognise the difference between our feelings and theirs. You might hate their dad but they love him. Saying positive things about their dad in front of them can only be a good thing (you don’t have to mean them, but say them anyway!) Our children will learn how to behave towards others by the examples that we set, so set good ones.
In order to be a good role model and parent we also need to feel good about ourselves. Make sure you take time out for yourself occasionally and treat yourself to a peaceful bath or a night out with friends. You’re children will benefit and they will be happy to see mummy happy.
Look out for my next Blog coming soon “Co-parenting and how to get on with your Ex”
Nutkin Nannies Berkshire
Tags: children, divorce
This post was written by Sarah Cozens