One of the hardest adjustments to make after a divorce is how to raise your children so they will grow up strong, happy, and healthy. Your children will typically be spending a significant amount of time with each parent, which can put a lot of stress on them. In addition, kids often feel helpless and like they have no control over their lives due to a divorce. While it can be challenging, if both parents are committed to putting their children first, kids are able to adjust and adapt. This, however, must be intentional on the part of the parents, and the following five tips can be very helpful.
Be There to Answer Questions
In the weeks and months immediately following a divorce, kids often have a lot of questions. Don’t expect them to sit down with you for a “meeting” where they will ask every question they have and be done with it. Instead, be open to their questions whenever they occur. By fostering good, open, and honest communication, your kids will be able to adjust much more easily.
When answering their questions, make sure to do it in an age appropriate way. The details regarding why you got a divorce, for example, aren’t likely something your kids need to know. It is perfectly acceptable to tell them that, even if they don’t like it.
Attend Events for Your Kids if Possible
There is no doubt that it can be awkward, or even infuriating, to be in the same room as your ex, but you need to put that behind you. Having both parents present at sporting events, choir concerts, school plays, and anything else that they do can be very positive for your children. This really shows them that they are the priority for both parents, and while you may not be together anymore, you both love them very much.
Encourage a Positive Relationship with Your Ex
Avoid talking bad about your ex if the kids are anywhere around, or if it could get back to them that you are talking like this. In today’s digital world, it is very important to refrain from posting negative things about your ex on social media, even if your kids don’t (yet) have accounts. Trying to build up your children’s relationship with your ex rather than risk hurting it will be in the best interests of the kids, and that is really what matters.
Coordinate on Discipline
As children grow up, disciplining them becomes much more of an issue. While you don’t need to coordinate on every little thing, larger issues should be discussed. Not only will this provide consistency, but it also shows your kids that you and their other parent are on the same page regarding this type of thing. This will help prevent them from trying to play you against your ex for their own benefit.
Love Your Kids More than You May Dislike Your Ex
This one really sums up all the rest, and basically all other advice you’ll ever read about how to be there for your children after a divorce. No matter how much your ex hurt you, or how much you “hate” them, they are still the parent of your children. Putting your feelings for your ex aside and focusing on your children will do more than anything else to help them to adjust and move on from this difficult experience.
We understand that family law issues are harder to handle because they necessarily involve family members you may want to protect. For any future family law issues you may encounter, please don’t hesitate to contact us.