Divorce is never easy for anyone but kids are affected hardest.
In 2013 nearly 55% of divorce cases in South Africa involved children younger than the age of 18 according to Statistics South Africa.
I don't condone divorce, but I understand why some couples choose to go through with it.
Read more: SA's divorce surge
In a world full of tragedy, struggles and conflict the length of marriages become less and less as the years go by.
There are many reasons as to why a marriage might dissolve; infidelity, illness and financial strains to name a few.
Staying together for the sake of the kids
Thousands of kids experience the hardships that come from divorce and kids often understand a lot more about what's happening than the parents realise.
Another report found that 82% of children of dissolved families felt that they'd prefer their parents to separate rather than stay together for the sake of the kids.
When marital problems get out of hand and resolution hasn't been reached over a long period of time, children might feel that they'd have a better sense of security if their parents separated. So in some cases the decision to separate is better for the kids than staying in a bad marriage.
Depending on their age children will react to these situations in different ways and it's important for parents to manage and prioritise their children's feelings around it.
Tips to help your child through divorce
Airing dirty laundry
Keep conflict and disruptive behaviour away from your child. Heated conversations and arguments nearly always end up in a fight between parents and unfortunately around the kids. Be concious of how and what you say to your partner in front of your children. If your partner says or does something that aggravates you save the confrontation for later. Withdrawing from a provoked argument and saving a spontaneous reaction for later could have a more positive affect on the outcome.
Don't make your child pick sides
This is a common mistake that many parents make and it's not always a mistake that parents are aware they're making. As tough as it may be try an opt for a positive tone when talking to your kids about your partner. Venting to your children about their other parent puts your child in a position where they may even feel bullied into choosing sides.
Talk to your children
Don't assume that your children don't need to know what's going on. If they don't already know, find a good time to chat to them openly about what's going on between you and your partner. Make sure they understand that the decision made between you and your partner to separate is in no way your children's fault and that they are loved equally by both parents. Anticipate that your child might react in a highly emotional way and engage with them as much as possible to help ease their anxiety or sadness.
Stay involved in your child's life
Your children still count on you to raise them, to guide them and to love them if not the same then more than before. Be aware of the emotional availability you have in your child's life and be careful of straying away from being actively involved in aspects of your child's life. Some things will change and your child will probably face many points of adjustment but allow your child to ease into the transition rather than creating a sudden void.
Below is a video that might help you understand what your child feels and how you can help them through your divorce:
Video via Youtube:
Do you feel it's better for some parents to separate? Send us your comment to firstname.lastname@example.org.