If you are divorced or in the process of a divorce, you probably already know that regardless of how amicable your divorce is, your kids will have a hard time with it. A divided family, the stress of two homes, and the new routines that come with now having two homes can be very hard on kids! As a parent, of course you want the best for your children, and their needs, both physical and psychological, typically come before your own. Respecting your children’s needs during the adjustment period during and after a divorce can help their well-being tremendously. Here are some tips to help ensure your children weather the divorce process without undue stress:
Limit the children’s exposure to conflict and hostility. Whether they visibly show it or not, badmouthing your Ex in front of your kids will tear them apart. The same goes for burdening them with your relationship problems or making them feel “put in the middle”. We don’t mean to sound harsh, but these problems are yours to deal with, not theirs! Don’t forget they are just children, even if they are teenagers.
Maintain their relationship with both parents. Your child loves you both, and it is in their best interest to spend time and keep their relationships with both parents, unless there is some sort of abusive situation being addressed.
Protect them from hurtful information. Divorces can definitely bring out the worst in people’s behavior, but your children don’t need to hear about it. Be careful about apologizing for the other parent as well, as this implies a negative judgment on your part.
Keep them informed of things that affect them. If you’re planning to move, get remarried, or undergo any other major life change, informing your children ahead of time will give them time to process the information and help the adjustment period.
Maintain firm limits and boundaries. Sometimes parents’ guilt regarding their divorce tempts them to let things slide in regards to behavior, chores, homework, etc. Your children, though, need to see that not everything is changing. They need to know that your expectations for them do not change, even though many things in their life may be changing.
Have patience. Chances are that you are likely struggling emotionally as well during this difficult time, and patience may be hard to come by. Try to remember, though, that your children didn’t choose this situation, and they may feel like things are completely out of their control (which they are). This means they will need your love and support to work through any control issues that may arise during this emotional transitional time.
Let them be children. More than ever, cherish your time with your children, have fun, and continue to do the fun things they love to do. Explore some new activities, develop new traditions, and maybe even encourage them to choose some new activities or places visit. Both you and your children will benefit from playful activities and fun times!
We hope these tips help. As always, feel free to contact us if you have any questions. We are here to help!