I’d like to add another reminder to this post about children.
Remember if you have children involved in your separation or divorce that they ARE children. They do not need to know all the details. They do not need to hear you say nasty things or use them to hurt the other parent. This almost always comes back around to you.
When these events happen, children blame themselves, children are scared that the parent that didn’t leave is going to, children believe that they can do something to “fix” this, and even though it may not have been a happy situation they want mom and dad to be together. All they have ever known is what your situation was prior to this event. This is what they are used to and this is what is comfortable and they do not see yet that you may be a “better” person without their mother/father in your life.
You may be upset, sad, scared, humiliated, and angry about your situation but you are an adult and most of us have dealt with those emotions before. Children do not understand. They may be feeling any of these things also, but they do not know why and they do not know that it’s normal. Children need to have YOUR support to get through this. They also need the other parent, whether you like it or not. They should be encouraged to talk to either of you about what they feel in this situation and we should keep our own judgments and emotions out of it. If you can’t do that, get your children in to talk to someone who is not involved.
You may feel that you are the “better” parent and the other doesn’t know how to “take care” of the children if you aren’t around. If you are thinking this, remember that this person is their mother or father and there is nothing that is going to change that fact. If they haven’t normally taken care of the children, then this is their chance to learn how and to bond with them. If they didn’t harm the children when you were with them, there’s no reason to think they would just because you aren’t there. You should realize that your children love you as much as they love the other parent and quit being so insecure. They should not be forced to choose between you two.
They are not going to quit loving you just because someone new comes into their life as Mom’s new boyfriend or Dad’s new girlfriend, so they should not be subjected to your opinions about someone you probably do not know. Don’t be too quick to judge a situation that does not involve you. And don’t put the children in the middle by asking them to report everything back to you. This will only make you feel worse and the children may lose the trust of the other parent.
The last thing is that most children, not all, but most will learn that during this time they can play you and your STBX against each other. I do not believe that they do this with the intention of hurting anyone but I have seen it happen often. Especially if you and your STBX are not able to discuss anything without arguing. Keep an eye on their grades and behavior. If all they have to do is get you two arguing so then there’s no one to make them do their homework, you need to stop and rethink your priorities. You need to let them know that if this is what they are doing, that they will not gain anything by this.
You are their parents and it’s YOUR job to make sure that they get through this, are taken care of, and know they are loved.