I have heard it many times… “My divorce ruined my kids lives”… False. Changes that happen in your life, do not ruin your kids lives. We all experience changes that will affect the lives of your children. And sometimes throughout all those changes, we all come out better.
Getting divorced does not ruin your kids lives… Before I decided to go through with my divorce, I struggled with how it would affect my kids. It was the number one thing that was holding me back from going through with my divorce. I would constantly worry if they would be ok and make it through all the transitions. Would they be upset, mad, angry, or would they act out… all of these worries raced through my mind over and over again.
But 5 years later…I can tell you that I did not ruin my kids lives. Yes, Their lives are different now. But they have adjusted to the changes. Yes, we have had some struggles through the way. However a lot of the struggles that we have faced, are just growing up parenting struggles. It has not always been a party…
However, I could not stay in a loveless marriage.
All of us worry about how divorce will affect our kids. I don’t think we would be human if we did not. But my kids saw everything and they picked up on so much that I don’t even realize.
My youngest was 4 when I got divorced. He often replays scenarios to me of his dad and I fighting in the last stages of our marriage. He will also mention how nice it is that dad and I don’t fight anymore. I am always so curious because his dad and I did not have loud arguments, but obviously to a 4 year old at the time.. he picked up on a lot more than we thought. It is also how a 4 year old interpreted our relationship and marriage.
I believe its how you handle all parts of your divorce, from the beginning, through the process, and all the years after…
There are things that I have done that have helped the transition over the last few years.
I have been able to tell when my kids needed a little additional support. All 3 of my kids have gone to counseling separately at different times in their lives. Each one faced different challenges at different ages and just needed to work through it. Alot of it was the changes in households and different parenting styles. I knew they could use a neutral person to talk too and work it out.
I continued counseling throughout and after my divorce. I did this because it was my outlet to let out my frustrations and emotions. It helped me control my emotions with my ex in front of my children. Counseling kept me grounded when I really just wanted to tell my ex what an idiot he was at times. Or it taught me to refrain from sharing my true feelings about my ex’s decisions in front of the kids.
My ex and I have also stayed very informed in their lives. I have learned to have conversations with my children and my ex all together, so there is no miscommunication between any of us. It gives my kids a chance to voice their opinion in front of both of us. And it has taken a lot of the pressure off me as always being the one having to speak for my kids.
I am very open and honest with my kids, even more so now that they are older. My girls are teenagers now, so their dad gets under their skin all the time… just being a dad to teenagers. I have always tried to keep my comments and negative thoughts to myself, and I still do now even more. Its hard. Many times I would love to tell them what I really think, but I want them to have a very healthy and positive relationship with us both. Its so hard to keep all my under my breath comments to myself. I also want my kids to form their own opinions and not be influenced by what I think.
So, no my divorce has not ruined my kids. I do not think it has ruined anything in any of our lives. My kids see how happy I am now, plus I can tell that they are happy. And they see how much love and support they get from both of their parents, just separately.