Helping Your Kids Get Through a Breakup

When we have kids with someone, we hope that we'll be together forever. That we will be able to bring our kids up in a loving and stable family home. That we'll never argue or fight, and we'll always be happy. This is unrealistic. All families struggle, and all couples disagree sometimes. No matter how close you are, it's human nature, and it's good for your kids to see that even the happiest of couples have their ups and downs. But, sometimes it's worse than this. In fact, around 40 to 50% of marriages in the US end in divorce.

Divorce or the breakdown of a serious relationship is always tough, no matter whose decision it was or what happened. Even if you have both agreed that it's for the best, and you know that you've made a decision that will one day make you happier, it's hard. You're not just upset about the loss of the relationship, you grieve for the life that you thought you'd have, and the family you wanted to give your children.

But, when there are children involved, it can be even harder. There aren't just your feelings to think about; you need to ensure that your kids stay happy, healthy and well looked after. If you are going through a breakup, here are some tips to help you help your kids.

Look After Yourself

You can't look after your children if you aren't looking after yourself. So, take some time. Speak to a collaborative divorce attorney, spend some time with your friends and family, treat yourself, see a counselor if you think it will help, and generally find ways to relax and make yourself feel better.

Keep it Civil

Even the friendliest of breakups can get messy. There will no doubt be times that you want to scream and shout. That's totally normal. But, try not to do it in front of your children. Your family and friends will want to be on your side, but it's important that they don't speak badly of your ex in front of the kids either so have a quiet word.

Spend Time Together

If possible, all go out for lunch together once a week or have your ex-partner around for tea. By all means, let them take the kids out alone, but it's also an excellent idea to let your children see that you are still a family, just a different one. Explain that you'll both still be around when they need you and show them that you can spend time together without fighting, so they don't worry about events like school plays when they will want to invite you both.

Don't Give False Hope

One problem with spending time together and being civil is that it can give your children hope of a reconciliation. If there is no chance of this, explain it to your children as well as they can understand. You can show them this by keeping a distance. Don't hug your ex or sit next to them at the table. Be friendly but make the physical difference clear so they can tell that the relationship has changed.
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