It’s not something we often talk about because we are often struggling to manage our emotional warfare and theirs. It’s bad enough that you are trying to find a new normal for yourself, but you must figure out how to help them find a landing pad from the landmines that have been placed in your environment.
Depending on their age, you’ve got to act fast so they don’t drown in the woes of emotion. To help them through the process, you need to be consistent. One of the things I wish I knew when I got divorced was to simply establish a new normal and stick to the boundaries that I put in place to keep my heart safe and my children whole.
When I got divorced my children were around 10 and 4. Oftentimes sons take it hard when their father is not present. It seemed harder for my children because their father was the nurturer, and I was the disciplinarian. When they realized that they got stuck with me most of the time, they really wanted to be with their father.
I had to decide a few things quickly:
Don’t take their behavior personally.
Who doesn’t want to be in a place where there are no rules, and you can do whatever you want?
Boundaries are a good thing.
We often fail to realize that boundaries are there to keep us safe and allow us to have fun without worry.
Learn what you need as fast as you can.
You are already walking through this traumatic experience, and you are dragging your babies with you too. We don't often think about our divorce having such a great impact on those around us. But in any situation, I don't care what the environment is, whatever you go through those that are closest to you go through it also. Some never come out of those moments, and they play it out in other areas of their life.
Think of it this way. If you live in a house near a busy street, wouldn't it be better to let your children go outside to play in a yard with a fence? Of course! Your children are free to have as much fun as they like because the boundary keeps them safe. You are also free to do other things because you know that boundaries have been set.
Now, let’s think of boundaries in a broader sense. Rules are boundaries. You want rules in place because they are the guardrails of life. It's hard enough to manage the emotional landmines we keep stepping on. You do not want the shrapnel of your chaos to constantly land in the heart of your children.
In Episode 7 of my Red Alert Diaries with Tanya E. Hood podcast, I share some of the lessons I needed to learn to help me keep my children safe. I invite you to listen on Spotify every Tuesday or on my YouTube Channel. If you’re on clubhouse, join me in the Red Alert Diaries Room Tuesdays at 7p EST to continue the discussion.