Divorce, remarriage, and trying to create a functional blended family are hard things to get through. Unfortunately, adults usually focus on themselves and fail to notice how tough things are on the kids during a divorce. Here a few tips to help your children through a divorce, long before you begin thinking of, or developing a step family.
Sit down and be honest with the kids. Tell them that dad and mom will no longer be married or living together. There is no need to go into further details. Those are adult topics, and children do not need to be privy to the exact reasons you have decided to get a divorce. This same level of communication will be needed down the road if remarriage and a blended family come about.
Are you sure it’s over?
There is no need to hold on to something that isn’t there, but make sure it really is over. If there is any hope of working things out, then try going to a marriage counselor to talk about things. The kids do not need to be a part of that. If you come to the conclusion that your marriage really is through, then start making the necessary changes. Help the children through it one-step at a time. Don’t say something about a stepfamily out of anger, as this will just confuse the kids even more.
The necessary changes will include separating, and staying separated. Kids will just become more confused if dad is coming over to have dinner and paint the garage and fence on the weekends. Move all the property of the non-custodial parent to their new home, and remove any family photos that were on the walls. There is no need to throw them away, as they are still great memories, but just tuck them away somewhere. You can keep photos of the kids, but not photos with the former couple together.
Talk to your children about their relationship with you
Tell your kids how much you love them, and that you always will. Make sure they know that none of what has happened is their fault and that there is nothing they can do to change things. There will be some drastic changes in their life, but it is important for them to know that your love will never change.
Divorce is a severe change for your children, and you need to keep things as normal as you can. Continue to enforce all the rules and keep everyone’s schedule as normal as possible. You will all get through this tough time. Life is constantly changing, sometimes in good ways and other times on not-so-good ways. Let the kids know that what is happening is beyond their control and that you are always available to chat about anything that concerns them.
If you need help with managing your blended or stepfamily, The Blended and Step Family Resource Center is more than willing to provide you with counseling and coaching, which you can use to navigate your way into a strong and successful blended family life with those you love.