11 Mar 5 Divorce Tips for Parents
Divorce tips for parents. One of the primary concerns, when a divorce happens, is how it will impact the kids. No one gets married and has children with the intention of getting divorced. People change, and relationships become complicated and divorce happens. Minimizing its impact on your kids is the best method to ensure their healthy development. The following tips will help you and your children get through your divorce with as little impact as possible.
1. Communicate with your ex-spouse
As difficult as it may be, you and your ex-spouse must make communicating a priority. Regardless of the situation surrounding your divorce, your ability to communicate with your ex-spouse about the kids will make all the difference in their healthy development.
It is not necessary to be friends with, or even like your ex, for that matter. But, you will need to establish some type of ground rules for regular communication about the kids. If you have shared parenting or split custody, you and your spouse will have to see each other and speak about the terms of visitation. If these conversations and visits are clipped and angry, your kids will take notice. This stress can be avoided by communicating with your spouse and identifying boundaries for your communication. Set the ground rules that any disagreements will be discussed out of the presence of the kids and that raising of voices, name calling, or yelling will not be tolerated by either of you. Both of you must agree to these communication ground rules. If one of the ground rules is broken (yelling, name calling, etc.), the communication should cease until you can both talk in a calm manner.
You can divorce your spouse and end your marriage, but that individual remains a parent to your children; a parent whom you will have to speak to regularly. It will take time, but communicating with your ex-spouse is possible.
2. Make co-parenting a priority
Not only do you need to communicate with your ex-spouse, but you also need to work together. Co-parenting has been found to be the most successful method of parenting in a divorce. It involves working with your spouse, in separate households, to raise your children together. Children from divorced families that co-parent feel more secure, have more consistency, gain more problem solving skills and have a healthy example to learn from. Your co-parent relationship plays a significant role in how your children are raised.
Co-parenting involves being on the same page with your ex-spouse about the way in which you plan to raise your kids. This means establishing the same rules at both households as well as enforcing them similarly. Depending on the age of the children, kids may go from one parent to another to get what they want. Effective co-parenting eliminates this. Dad and mom agree, so the kid doesn’t get what they want at either house.
Your communication with your ex-spouse should be very kid-focused. Keep your discussions peaceful and have them on a regular basis. Provide him/her with updates about what happened with the kids while they were under your care, and expect the same kind of update. Should issues with the kids arise, speak with your ex-spouse right away. Whether there are problems at school or if there is an injury, both you and your ex-spouse should work together to solve the issues that arise.
In effective co-parenting, both parents are involved, they communicate regularly, and are on the same page with raising their kids. They have established rules, methods of discipline and a consistent schedule. They are no longer married, but they maintain a partnership in raising their children.
3. Communicate with your kids
Divorce is a very big deal in every child’s life. Whether they are six years old or 16 years old, they know what is going on and will have their own host of emotions and feelings to deal with. Don’t think that your kids are too young or oblivious to know what is happening around them. They are far more intuitive that you believe. It is crucial that they hear from you what is going on and what they can expect. A positive child-parent relationship can aid them through this transition.
When kids see that the relationship between their parents is ending, they are afraid. They wonder what is going to happen to them and what is going to change. Talking to your kids about what is going on can help ease some of this anxiety. If possible, it is most efficient for both parents to talk to the kids together, but not entirely necessary. As long as the lines of communication are open, you’re making progress.
Talk to your kids, this is the best way to build a good child-parent relationship. Encourage the children to express their feelings and talk about their fears. Reassure them that the separation has nothing to do with them and is not their fault. Be sure to reiterate that both mom and dad love them. Reassurance, especially to young children, is really vital at this stage. They will often blame themselves for the separation and may feel guilty. You must always reiterate that the separation had nothing to do with the kids and that even though their parents are not together, they will continue to love them and support them.
4. Always speak well about your ex-spouse in front of your kids
You should never, never, never speak poorly about your ex-spouse in front of your children. You should make an effort to provide them with compliments. If your kids see you being disrespectful to their other parent, they get the idea that it’s ok to be disrespectful as well. And if you are speaking poorly of your ex-spouse, it’s very likely the ex-spouse is speaking badly about you. This leads to a mess. Don’t talk bad to your kids about your ex. It’s childish and inappropriate, not to mention the fact that it further burdens your children with stress related to the divorce.
Do not ever use your kids as messengers between you and your ex-spouse. If you have something to say to him/her, call or text them. This is another unhealthy behavior that is not supporting the healthy development of your kids. Communicate with your kids about their lives, their experiences, hopes, etc. Don’t probe for questions about your ex-spouse, his new partner or his new life. This will make the kids uncomfortable. If you have something to say to/about your ex-spouse, call him/her yourself.
Don’t say negative things about your ex-in-laws. Those people may not be your family anymore, but they still are the family of your children. Your kids love their aunts, uncles, and grandparents. Talking bad about them will cause your kids to feel conflicted and confused. Of course, as our parents used to say, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”
5. Settle in to a new routine
Settling in to a new routine will prove to be one of the bigger challenges throughout the process of your divorce. In the midst of learning new communication methods with your ex-spouse, you’ll want to establish a new schedule for both you and the kids. Because the kids will be spending some of their time away from home, you will need to maximize the time you do spend with them as well as maximize your time when you’re alone. Plan special time with your kids when they are will there, and make an effort to do things just for you when you’re by yourself. This helps to keep you balanced as a parent as well as an individual.
Keep your routine consistent. Decide which days the kids will be at mom’s and which days at dad’s and don’t deviate from this schedule. Once you pick something, you need to stick with it so that the kids can readjust to the new schedule quickly.
Sometimes it is helpful for both children and parents to seek professional assistance from a counselor or therapist to provide aid through this transition. Divorce can be rough on all parties involved and children and parents can benefit from learning some new coping skills to better manage these challenges.
Divorce is a challenging transition for family members, the parents and the children. Getting through this transition with well-adjusted children is possible and not as difficult as one would think. The most important thing to remember is the value of open communication with both your children and ex-spouse. Your children should be aware of what is going on as well as provided with the opportunity to ask questions and express feelings. You and your ex-spouse should identify healthy communication guidelines and make a commitment to co-parenting together. Always speak respectfully about your ex-spouse and his/her family. As you begin to settle into a new routine focus on consistency. Consider counseling or therapy for both you and the kids as an additional support through this process. Doing these things will improve the entire situation for you and your children.