If you and your ex have recently separated and you are the one who moved out of the family home, your kids might be confused and hurt. It is important that you get through to them that leaving the house physically isn't the same as leaving them, and that you will be there for your children. Here are four things you can do to keep the relationship with your kids intact if you're worried you're coming off as the bad guy.
1. Try Mediation or Divorce Counseling With Your Ex-Spouse
If your divorce was contentious, you and your ex-spouse might not be on the best of terms. If you get a sense that your ex is airing their divorce frustrations around your children, it is important to try your best to put an end to this. Family counseling for further mediation through courts or family lawyers might be worth it if it can get you and your ex on more amicable terms.
2. Try to Set up a Home Base Quickly
If you have recently moved out of your family's home and are now looking for a new living situation, make this a top priority with your kids in mind. If you can find a setup with rooms for your children and a welcoming environment, this can mend relationships quickly. This will also help in divorce proceedings and custody arrangements with divorce attorneys, since you will have a setup for your children to live either full or part time.
3. Don't Move on too Quickly
If you are seeing a new significant other, it might not be the best idea to expose kids to this right away. Try to keep your romantic pursuits private, even if your children might have inklings this may have had something to do with your initial separation. While moving on is expected, give this a little time so your kids can warm up to the idea first, especially if divorce proceedings are still underway.
4. Be Patient With Your Kids
If your kids are hurting and confused, they might want to put all of the blame on you for leaving. Be sure to be consistent in your parenting and be there for kids. Try to talk with them and instead of focusing on the divorce, reiterate that you love them and are there for them.
Be sure to let your kids know you don't expect them to pick sides and they don't have to be loyal to one parent over the other. Divorce is an adjustment for everyone, but try your best to focus on your children and not on your emotions stemming from divorce. Consult with an attorney, such as Slayton Law, before moving forward with any decisions.