How to Help Children Cope and Feel Loved During Divorce

No matter how old or young your children are, seeing their parents divorce is very painful and confusing. Many children silently blame themselves for their parents breaking up or struggle to understand why this is happening to them. It’s important that you understand how to help your children cope with the divorce, so that their pain doesn’t turn into a more serious problem, like depression or self-harm. Here’s what you need to know about helping your children get through the divorce.

Avoid Fighting With Your Kids’ Other Parent in Front of the Kids

Whether you realize it or not, tension between you and your child’s other parent will inevitably transfer to your kids. They will feel anxious, unloved, depressed, and guilty. Even infants are negatively affected by overhearing their parents bicker. Although disagreements are normal, regularly and openly fighting isn’t good for the kids.

If you’re going through a turbulent divorce, it may not be easy to avoid heated arguments. However, it’s important to keep your children out of it as much as you can. Learn to recognize when you are becoming too angry to have a productive conversation, and end it before it gets out of hand. Is your voice getting louder? Is your heart beating frantically? Are your emotions controlling your behavior? These are common signs it’s time to cool off for a bit, before attempting to resolve the conflict.

If conflict can’t be avoided, take the conversation outside or into an office, where the children can’t hear. If the arguing worsens or starts happening more frequently, you may want to consider living in separate homes while your divorce is finalized, if you’re not already.

Remind Them It’s Not Their Fault

Children often blame themselves when there are problems between their parents or if one fails to show up on time for a visit. You can’t force your divorced spouse to be reliable or to follow through with their commitments, but what you can do is reassure your child that it’s not their fault and that adults make mistakes sometimes too. It doesn’t mean daddy or mommy doesn’t love them anymore.

Create a Backup Plan if Your Kid’s Other Parent is Unreliable

One way to minimize the disappointment your child feels if your divorced spouse doesn’t show up for a visit is to have a backup plan. Think of what you’ll do with your child if the other parent doesn’t follow through. While a fun activity won’t replace the time they would have spent with their other parent, it will lighten the mood and take their mind off the situation. In addition to creating a plan for how you’ll entertain your kids if the other parent doesn’t show, you should also plan for how long you will wait before using the backup activity. Half an hour to an hour is usually reasonable.

Show Interest in the Time Your Children Spend with Their Other Parent

Some people make the mistake of staying silent when their kids return from spending time with the other parent. However, it’s better to show the same interest you’d show if they spent the weekend at their grandparents’ house. When you don’t say anything, children worry that you’re unhappy or upset. Worse yet, if you talk badly about the other parent, it will only further drag your children into a situation that has nothing to do with them.

Encourage Them to Express Their Feelings

Divorce is a painful time for children. Just like you, they’ll experience a rollercoaster of emotions throughout the transition. Let them know that you’re there for them when they want to talk and that they won’t be punished or judged for speaking their mind. Young children, especially, have trouble putting their feelings into words. If you notice your child is sad or acting out of sorts, encourage them to talk about what they’re feeling.

Answer Their Questions Honestly

Your kids may ask you questions about your divorce, and those questions may not all be easy to answer. Do your best to answer them honestly and calmly, in age-appropriate terms. Simplify it as much as possible for young children, but be willing to offer more details to older kids. Also, try to refrain from badmouthing your ex-spouse, even if he or she did something terrible. While, in the heat of the moment, it may feel good to get back at your spouse by trashing them to your kids, you only risk harming your children and the relationship you have with them.

If your children are young, be prepared for your child to ask the same questions again, and patiently answer them if they do. One day, it may seem they understand, and the next, they may seem confused once more as to why their parents don’t love each other anymore. If you’re asked a question you don’t know the answer to, just say that you don’t know at the moment, but you’ll figure it out with time.

Take Care of Yourself!

One of the most important tips for helping your children cope with divorce is to take care of yourself. In order to be at your best for your kids, you need to look after your own emotional, physical, and mental health. If you’re bottling up anger at your former spouse or drowning in depression, it WILL affect your parenting, whether you realize it or not. You might find yourself snapping at the kids, distancing yourself from their lives, or taking less interest in their activities.

Some quick tips for taking better care of yourself include exercising regularly, eating healthy, and doing fun activities you enjoy. If you’re having a very difficult time, don’t feel embarrassed by the possibility of seeing a therapist. It doesn’t mean you’re crazy or that something is wrong with you. It just means you need additional support and a safe space to work through your own feelings, in order to get through this difficult time in your life.

At Untangle the Knot, we know just how hard divorce can be. That’s why we’ve created a resource that you can lean on. We are dedicated to helping parents and their children make it through divorce as stronger, healthier, and happier people. Contact us to learn more about how we can help.

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Dealing With Money Before and After Divorce: 5 Essential Questions

No matter who you are or what your current life situation happens to be, going through a divorce is guaranteed to change your financial situation. Legal fees, moving costs, redistributed assets, childcare costs, and other financial considerations can all have a big impact on your sense of financial security. What’s more, if your partner was responsible for handling finances during your marriage, you may feel overwhelmed when faced with the prospect of suddenly managing finances on your own.

The good news is that with careful planning, it’s more than possible to take control of your finances. To get you started, here are five essential questions to ask yourself when dealing with money before and after your divorce.

1. Do I Have Funds Set Aside in My Own Name?

If you’ve recently begun the divorce process, then the first question you’ll want to ask yourself is whether or not you have any bank accounts or credit cards in your own name. Many couples own joint accounts, which are convenient during a marriage but can lead to disaster in the event of a hostile divorce. Close any joint accounts as soon as possible, and transfer funds to an account in your own name. This way, a potentially hostile ex-partner will have less opportunity to cut you off from your finances.

2. Do I Know What My Assets are Worth?

Another step to take at the beginning of the divorce process is to determine how much your assets are worth. This typically includes your house, cars, bank accounts, investments, and any other valuable possessions. You’ll also want to inventory any debts that you currently owe.

Once you’ve familiarized yourself with your assets, you’ll want to determine which assets are considered marital property and which are considered non-marital property. Generally speaking, the distinction is that marital property will have been acquired during your marriage. Ultimately, taking the time to understand your assets will give you a financial advantage by ensuring you don’t overlook any important assets during the divorce proceedings.

3. Do I Know What Funds I’m Legally Entitled to Post-Divorce?

Depending on your situation, you may be entitled to funds such as alimony or child support following your divorce. In these situations, it’s wise to consult with a family law attorney, in order to make sure you’re fully aware of all relevant legal details. Although, ideally, your ex-partner will be scrupulous about sending alimony, child support, or other funds, the reality is that funds aren’t always sent in full or on time.

4. Am I Making Financial Decisions Based on Logic or Emotion?

It’s probably not surprising to learn that emotions play a big role in many people’s post-divorce financial decisions. For example, it’s often difficult to make the decision to sell a home or car that may be too expensive to keep after your divorce. Some parents find themselves trying to make it up to their children by purchasing expensive toys, clothes, or other items. Although it’s challenging, being extra careful about avoiding emotional expenses following a divorce will pay off in added financial security.

5. Have I Updated My Budget And Left Room for Unexpected Expenses?

Even if you kept a budget before your divorce, you’ll want to set aside the time to update your budget with new monthly expenses. In particular, you may want to leave room for unexpected expenses, until you’ve become familiar with your new post-divorce lifestyle. If it feels overwhelming to create a budget, remember to start with the basics: food, shelter, childcare, and any other broad categories that come to mind. Once you’ve budgeted for your basic needs, it becomes easier to factor smaller expenses into your budget.

Our online resource has step-by-step instructions for organizing your finances and creating your post-divorce budget. We have personalized support available as well. Getting a clear picture of your post-divorce financial situation can definitely be challenging, but is very do-able with right resources around you. I can guarantee you’ll feel much less anxiety and confusion when you’ve tackled this piece! We’re here to help – you don’t have to go it alone!

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Some Good Decisions Before, During, and After My Divorce

There were a number of things I did wrong in my divorce, from taking on 65 percent of the debt load to not asking for any form of support. However, it turns out there were a number of things I did that turned out right. Hindsight really is 20-20, and perhaps my clearer perspective today can bring you comfort in the decisions you make tomorrow.

What I Did Right Before Leaving

  • I waited until I could finally look at him and think, “I’d rather die alone than live with you for the rest of my life.” I don’t necessarily mean that in a bad way; I didn’t hate him, I just finally didn’t want him anymore. After leaving, I beat myself up for waiting so long. But now I know, if I had left before that, I would have always wondered if I’d made the right choice. Today, I have zero regrets.
  • I practiced living without him. About eight months before I left him, I got a job as a flight attendant. Now, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this for everyone; it’s not nearly as glamorous as it is in the movies. However, what it did was help me understand that I was perfectly fine being alone. I was staying in hotels by myself in strange cities three to five nights a week, and I was okay. In the end, the experience made leaving him a whole lot less scary.

During my Divorce

  • I kept everything as emotion-free as possible. While love and hate are opposites of each other, they’re still just flip sides of the same coin. When you let go of those emotions, it’s so much easier to part with the things you must and keep what’s necessary. During the divorce process, many people get hung up on material things, when what’s actually important is that you (or you and your kids) are financially okay.
  • I left while I held the power in the relationship. In 1938, Willard Waller, a sociologist, invented the term “The principle of least interest.” Throughout my marriage, there was always an imbalance. Basically, throughout most of the time I lived with him, I had no power to change the situation, as I was more emotionally invested in him than he was in me. Once I left, he thought I would change my mind and come back, as I had so many times before. But, because my mind was in a powerful place, I never once thought about returning.

After It Was Done

  • I dated a guy with the same problem. Okay so this may not sound like a good idea. But, the first man I dated after I left my ex-husband turned out to have exactly the same issue—complete and utter emotional availability. However, I recognized the issue a whole lot faster (after two dates) and was able to break it off, long before it got very serious and with very little pain on either side. It helped me realize I could trust my instincts again—because the chances of that becoming a long-term relationship were way below zero.
  • I was myself first, last, and always: No matter the circumstances, the end of a marriage feels like a personal failure. I blamed part of that on trying to be what someone else thought I should be for many years. This made me utterly determined that, if there were another relationship, I would not make the mistake of trying to change myself for them. I’ve been married for quite some time to my second husband, and there were no surprises for either of us after marriage, as he’s on his second marriage too. When you both make the other laugh, and continue to be intrigued and in love, those power scales balance quite nicely.

The hardest part about all of it—before, during, and after—was that I felt really alone and unsupported through most of the divorce, the adjustment afterward, and the dating process. Just bringing myself to the point of leaving took a couple years. There was so much advice I needed as I worked through it on my own, yet no one to turn to in a strange town, in a new job. The online and personal support provided by Untangle The Knot would have helped a lot!

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Best Friend Untying the Knot? Throw a Divorce Shower

Did your best friend wed the wrong guy? Has your sister’s marriage come to a not-so-merry conclusion? Divorce is a life altering and painful event, but a happy life and new beginning awaits on the other side. Girls get together to have fun when one of their friends is about to become a bride, right? Expectant mothers are celebrated with fabulous showers. Divorce may not be the happiest sort of new beginning, but it’s still a new start and can be an exciting time in a woman’s life.

Granted, a post-marital bash may not be every divorcee’s proverbial cup of tea. Some women need time to mourn their marriage in solitude. Some newly unmarried women would prefer a weekend alone on a sunny beach with a good book to any sort of revelry. Some women want to get right back to work and pretend it never happened. That’s alright, too. But if you have a divorcing friend who’s up for a jolly good time, by all means do put together a festive celebration.

Plan a divorce party that suits your friend’s mood and style. In some cases, a quiet girls night in with tasty snacks and a few female-empowering, divorce-themed movies is the right way to go. First Wives ClubShe Devil, and Waiting to Exhale are fun choices.

If your newly single friend is the type who likes to dance and carouse, arrange a girls night out at a nice local nightclub. Share a table, and don’t wait for men to ask you to dance. Go ahead and take over the dance floor, if you like. It can be a lot of fun! Unless one member of the party wishes to be a designated, non-drinking driver, have the hostess call a cab or arrange for an Uber driver to take everyone home after the festivities.

Gifts for the guest of honor are always a good idea. Unless your friend lost a lot of household possessions during her divorce and needs to replenish those things, a gift registry is not generally required the way it might be for a baby shower. Presents can be useful things, but just-for-giggles gifts are much more fun to give and receive.

Some very successful divorce parties involve a visit to Las Vegas. If you and your friends can get away for a long weekend in Sin City, do it. Las Vegas offers a remarkable range of attractions and shows that are sure to keep your newly single friend’s mind off her just-ended marriage. Properties that specialize in singles packages include the off-Strip Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, the Venetian Resort, and the trendy Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. Each boasts one or more nightclubs on-site, so you can revel ’til your hearts content and never venture far from the hotel.

According to DivorcePartyIdeas, the best divorce parties occur shortly after the ink is dry on the final dissolution papers. A great divorce party can give a newly unmarried woman a fresh sense of vitality as she embarks on the next phase of her life.

Please bear in mind the fact that a divorce party should never be a surprise to the guest of honor. The divorcee being feted should always have the deciding vote, as far as timing, venue, and guest list are concerned.

We understand that divorce is not a lot of fun, and we don’t mean to make light of a sorrowful situation. It’s incredibly painful on levels nobody can understand unless they have traveled through it. Trust us, we’ve been there. We merely suggest that when divorce is inevitable, take a pause to have some fun and connect with your friends. Put on your prettiest party dress, take a deep breath, and enjoy a divorce celebration.

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