I think we can all agree that divorce is tragic. It is destructive by its very nature. It leaves wounds that slowly heal and scars that never truly fade. But there are times when divorce is inevitable. There are times when divorce is the best option. And in those cases, the separating couple should focus on maintaining a positive relationship. Because a friendly divorce is absolutely vital when kids are involved.
Let me reaffirm my anti-annulment attitude. I do not promote divorce. In most cases it does far more harm than good. I’m talking about lasting, devastating, and unnecessary damage. But there are rare cases when divorce is unavoidable and the best course of action. And those scarce situations are what I am referring to in this post. If your marriage is ending and you have no choice but to continue down the path of divorce than this post is for you. Although a separation may be unavoidable it can still be a relatively positive experience if you can make it a friendly divorce.
How to Maintain a Friendly Divorce
Kids Come First:
Your needs are important, but not as important as your child’s. And as hard as this is on you, it is much harder on her. Try to consider this life altering scenario from her point of view. Make your child’s best interest the priority in every decision you make. I’m sure there are plenty of things that you and your estranged spouse do not agree on but it is imperative that you work together to do what is necessary for your children.
I know, I know, your ex is the last person you want to spend a Friday night with. And that’s totally ok. You don’t have to be friends but you should be friendly. The way you act around each other will really impact how your child adjusts to her new family dynamic. You can minimize the negative be keeping things positive with your ex.
Only Speak Kind Words:
I’m sure you could write a novel full of negative things about your ex. But that won’t do anyone any good. Instead, keep your words kind. How you speak determines how you feel and how you feel will impact your child’s feelings.
Keep a positive attitude:
This is a toughie. It won’t be easy, but it is important. Focus on the good you’ve got going on.
Maintain Some Traditions:
Your family is getting rocked pretty hard right now. There are so many changes happening in such a short time. It’s important to hold on to any traditions that include your ex as possible. Maybe let him tag along when you go trick-or-treating, or invite her to your child’s birthday party, or just let him come on your regular ice cream outting. Your children need these few moments of normalcy and consistency to combat all the change.
Keep Family Ties:
Just because you are separating from your spouse doesn’t mean you have to divorce his family. Stay in contact with his parents, siblings, cousins, or anyone you feel comfortable with. Remember, these people are still your child’s family. Your child needs all the love and support they can get so do your best to keep all their loved ones active in their lives. Invite them to birthday parties, notify them of games and performances, and update them on the current events of your child’s life. Social media is a great way to keep in contact while still maintaining healthy distance.
Find healthy ways to move forward as an individual. This may mean taking up a hobby, getting a job, furthering your education, joining a support group, or finding another positive outlet for your focus. As you move forward you will find build a new foundation. This foundation will be a source of strength and support to you and your children during this difficult time.
Divorce is ugly. But it doesn’t have to be. You can have a friendly divorce and you can keep a positive relationship with your ex. You can make the best of a bad situation and by doing so you can protect your child from so much unnecessary pain.
Here are a few more ideas on maneuvering this parenting-thing; ideas we have found to really help!