“We’re half a family now; I’m unable to think, unable to feel, unable to grasp what had happened to our lives. Unable to speak about how I hate that I can’t have both my parents with me at home, maybe it’s all my fault” says Dalia Maher, a daughter of divorced parents. This is what most children of divorced parents would say and feel. This is exactly why parents should protect their children during divorce and pay extra care to their feelings. Psychologist Laura Markham advise parents with five tactics to protect the children of a divorce:
1. Immunize your child emotionally: Listen to your child with compassion& don’t get defensive, instead show love. Dr. Markham explains that there will be rage, frustration and grief that we need to tolerate as parents and help our children express.
2. Work a good relation with ex-husband: It may sound crazy, keeping a good relation with the man who probably turned your life to hell but as Dr. Markham said “It is imperative that you work out a good relationship because you will always be linked as the parents of this child.” The child shouldn’t feel like a heave when asking both parents to attend a school play or a graduation ceremony.
3. Deal with your own emotional bag: Your children have no fault to feel the dissonance you are passing through. One they feel it, they’ll live it. Resolve your own emotional problems on your own, with a psychologist or a friend away from your children.
4. Children should see both parents: Psychologist Markham believes that according to children, an uninvolved parent make them feel as if the parent chose to stay away. This is why a child feels that death of a parent is better than abandon; leaving is a choice while death isn’t.
5. Provide stability: Don’t make your children feel that even their daily routines have turned upside down. Try to stay in the same neighborhood, make them attend the same school, keep them accompanied with their best friends and keep up with their activities.
Remember, it’s never too late to be happy. The famous Marilyn Monroe once said: “Sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together”. Stay good and may all the good things happen to you and to your family.