When couples are going through a divorce, they tend to focus on themselves. They’re focusing on the end of the relationship, how much they hate the other person, on what sort of custody they’re going to be getting, or they’re not going to be getting. And they tend to forget the most important people in the room, which are the kids.
And it’s so critical, as you’re going through a divorce process, that you pay attention to what’s going on with your children, particularly the boys, because they boys are going to be much less likely to be open about their issues.
So you’re looking for simple things – are their friends changing? Are they hanging out with a different crowd that they were before? Are their grades… did they just take a big, huge nosedive after the divorce kind of came out? Those sorts of things – pretty much any sort of way off kinds of behavior that your kids are exhibiting are absolutely red flags.
Start talking to them about it, but then you also might want to consider two really important things to remember about what your kids are going through that you may not notice.
One is that almost all kids – and this goes for the littlest kids all the way through to teenagers – believe in some way that they caused the breakup of the relationship. You have to make absolutely sure that you emphasize over and over again – you cannot just say once, you have to tell them – that this had nothing to do with them: “This has to do with mommy and daddy not being able to get along and this is a grown up issue. It is not your issue.”
The other part to keep in mind is that kids – and this is again from the littlest kids to the oldest kids – they really are very self-centered little creatures and it’s all about them. And what they’re concerned about most of all is “How is this going to affect my life? If dad isn’t moving out of the house, is mom going to move of the house? If dad and mom are yelling at each other, does that mean they’re going to be yelling at me?”
Think about those kinds of things and it will really help you to put things into perspective and pay more attention to the kids than you are to yourself.