My previous two posts said that you shouldn’t wait to see a therapist if you’re having problems and if you and your partner are having problems. I strongly said that you don’t want the situation to get worse and create new problems. I want to talk about the kids now. (And, by the way, don’t forget about the pets!—They’re sensitive, too.) Think about the kids first. Always. Here’s some ideas.
Whatever happens to you will always affect your children. Children are acutely sensitive to your moods and stresses. S/he is always trying to read you and cope with you while, at the same time, attempting to grow up. You want to minimize those stresses as much as possible. Yes, life is real and it brings in challenges and crises, but it’s better that you deal with them, rather than having your child deal with them.
An example: years ago I was asked to see two children. The younger one, a girl, was urinating all the time, not just in her bed. The parents said that they were trying to have a friendly divorce and that I should “make the kids better.” I tried to help the kids deal with their parents’ split and the tension in the house. But the parents minimized everything. So, she kept on urinating. Mom remarried and then shortly divorced again. Dad didn’t date. Mom had gone to a spiritual counselor; Dad didn’t go to therapy. Several years later, I ran into Dad. I asked how the kids were. She’s still going all time, he said.
This is one of a million examples. Some simple lessons: don’t pretend your issues and your relationship issues don’t seriously affect your children. Get them to a counselor fast and early. They need help. If you don’t, they will then have their own problems, and then create even more tension for you and your partner.