Divorce manufactures a substantial list of effects on children. When one foundation is crumbling, it’s very important to have another foundation in place ready to take its place. What are the things that your children are going to need most from you as life transitions? Answering and acting on that sentiment will have a great impact on the future. Not all divorces end in bad news stories for kids.
“My parents divorced when I was young, but I was brought up in two really loving households. I didn’t have a contentious relationship with my mom or dad.” – Matt Damon, actor
The great hope would be that if divorce is going to happen, the story for the kids would end up like Matt’s. Two parents coming together in unison for the greater cause of their shared children and designing a path forward that leads to success for all. The reason this grand hope often fails is because there are real problems why divorce is the solution. There is anger, bitterness, resentment, betrayal, and any number of other negative things standing in the way. Those things are poison to the life of a child.
How do we limit them from seeping beyond the marriage itself? It will require serious personal sacrifice and a determined perseverance to turn divorce for your family into a happy ending, but it’s entirely possible. Dealing with the effects on children is step one. Here are 5 things a child of divorce needs from their dad.
The End of Conflict
It is imperative that a child sees their dad having respect for their mother. Even in most wars, eventually, the hostilities stop. A cease-fire is declared and the terms of the settlement are ironed out. Often with divorces, battles rage nonstop—long after separation. That is deadly to the life of the family. As a leader, a dad needs to find the higher road and stay on it, no matter where the fault lies. It is imperative that a child sees their dad having respect for their mother.
Your child needs to be absolutely certain you aren’t abandoning them. No matter how you present it, that is going to be their fear because your presence is no longer going to be constant. Children do not know the things we know, and they haven’t been matured by life experiences to be able to understand what an adult does. They do, however, understand fear, and they are going to have it. It requires strong and constant communication, along with proof by action, that you will remain steady in their lives as their father.
Plain and simple. Don’t be the guy under the label: Deadbeat Dads. The Urban Dictionary describes that guy like this: A father who does not provide for a family that he was part of creating. Does not have morals or a responsible enough nature to realize how difficult he is making life for his family. Do the right thing, even if it means financial hardship for you.
Maintain Structure and Discipline
A whole new batch of temptations can come at a man coming out of divorce. Maintaining personal discipline and family structure is vital for not only your children, but for your own happiness moving forward.
Carry the Burden
After the fear of abandonment, the next great worry on the mind of your child will be, What did I do wrong? That idea left to fester in his/her soul could gnaw at them the rest of their lives. Get to that feeling right away, and talk them through the process of why it is all happening. To be successful will require some hard truth that you might not have wanted to share, but they need to know. Spare the gritty details, but make sure the children know this is your burden to carry, not their own.
Huddle Up Question
Huddle up with your ex and discuss the state of your shared parenting.