Guest Author - Jeanette Stingley
Getting out of an abusive relationship is hard on everyone involved, especially the children who went through the relationship and break up with you. Some kids may need counseling to deal with what they went through. Some kids just need some extra love and attention from the adults around them.
Never miss an opportunity to tell your kids you love them and show it
Your children at first may be reluctant to be kissed and hugged. Be patient. They may still be scared and confused by what is going on. You have to remember children are children, not little adults who can think logically about what is going on. If he looks sad, sit next to him and put your arm around him. Tell him you love him and you understand he is sad/scared/confused. Use words he can understand.
Spend as much time as you can with your children
Your children will need you now more than ever while adjusting to not having your abuser around. Play games, go to the park, watch fun family movies, etc. with them.
Create new family rituals
Pick an activity or two that you do together consistently. This could be reading before bedtime, doing dishes together, set one night a week where you turn the TV off and do things together. You will need to set stability into your home so your children feel safe. This will also make your children know that they can trust you and you keep your word when you say you are going to do something.
Involve children in household chores
Involving the children in household chores will help them feel like they are involved with contributing to the household. Chores will depend on their ages of course and you can find useful guides around the internet as to what is appropriate for age groups. This will help bolster their self-worth and make them feel useful. This is a perfect chance for you to praise your kids and shower them with affection when they help.
Take interest in day-to-day activities
Sometimes our abuser takes up so much of our attention that we forget kids can get stressed out by their lives away from home. Get your children involved in sports, music, art classes, find out if their school has after school activities. Start helping them with their homework if you haven't already. Talk about their school day.
Simple things can make you family close once you get away from your abuser. Your child may be confused at first about what is going on and what the future may hold. It is our responsibility as their parents to make them feel loved, wanted and to let them know none of what happened was their fault.