Children are our future. As parents, our duty is to show them how to behave. Lead by example, as we are their heroes and they look up to us. Our parental role is to model core beliefs and moral values. Nurturing healthy minds is on a par with other great social challenges.
Model responsible behaviour during divorce
When faced with a break-up and divorce, our responsibility as parents is to uphold these beliefs and values. In the early years, children are like sponges and are impressionable. If you shout, scream or lash out, they will think that is acceptable behaviour. They will mimic what they see and carry unsociable conduct into their adult lives, because they know no different. Splitting up, co-parenting, or being a single mum or dad does not mean that your children will be dysfunctional, so long as you behave in a responsible, dignified and mature manner. You are the teacher.
Children are not objects to be used in the push and pull of divorcing parents. They are not possessions to be fought over and divided up. They are precious, sensitive young people who are growing and require both their parents to put their needs before their own. Keep listening and talking to your children. Ask them how they are feeling. By communicating, co-operating and keeping a close relationship, your children will not suffer as a result of your separation.
Understand the root of any bad behaviour
Children do not know how to verbalise how they are feeling and, let’s face it, nor do most adults! This might come as a surprise to you, but according to The Emotion Wheel by Dr Robert Plutchik we can experience 34,000 emotions, because there are many different layers and dimensions. If your son or daughter is being rude, disruptive or naughty, then the root cause of this could possibly be frustration or fear.
To alleviate your child’s fears and worries, support them by reminding them that they are loved by both parents. Be honest when talking about the breakup, but remember to take into account their age and level of understanding. Avoid any negative feelings you have for your ex-partner, and don’t point the finger at either party. You are divorcing each other, not your children.