Raising children can very challenging. Unfortunately, parenting can be even more difficult after a divorce. Parents sometimes make mistakes in how they talk to or behave around their children after a divorce. Making yourself aware of these concern areas can be a helpful starting point to ensure you are doing everything you can to help your child adjust to his or her new life.
1. Failing to Communicate
Parents sometimes assume that children are too young or naïve to fully understand what is happening in the divorce. They also may make the opposite assumption—where they think the child thoroughly understands what is happening. In either situation, parents fail to explain what happens in a divorce and they do not talk about the changes that their family is going to experience.
It is essential to explain to your child the divorce has nothing to do with them. Emphasize that both spouses still love the child and that they always will, even if the parents live in different households.
2. Using the Child Against the Other Spouse
Parents sometimes make bad comments about the other spouse in front of their child. Comments like that can turn a child against their other parent and strain their relationship.
Parents also sometimes use their child as a spy or way to get information to or from the other parent. Never use your child for any reason after a divorce, and choose your words carefully when you are discussing the other parent.
3. Not Letting Other Caregivers Know About the Divorce
Although you may want to keep the details of your personal life private, your child’s caregivers may need to know what is going on at home to provide adequate care for your child. For example, teachers and daycare providers may not realize why your child is acting out or wants more attention. By letting those vital people in on your situation, they can look for problem behaviors and address them accordingly. Allowing caregivers to be sensitive to your circumstances means they can provide better care for your child.
4. Not Keeping a Consistent Routine
Children thrive when they have a consistent schedule and predictable home life. When households separate, keeping those routines becomes even more difficult. Parents should make every effort to keep their child’s life consistent, both from house to house and from pre-divorce to post-divorce.
5. Overindulging or Bribing Children
Some parents will overcompensate for the divorce. They may give their child extra attention, treats, or activities. They may also bribe a child with these desirable things to ensure that the child still likes the parent and wants to spend time with him or her.
Parents may feel guilty about the divorce and try to make up for it by giving the child whatever he or she wants. This practice can be dangerous if children grow to expect this type of treatment. Unfortunately, this can lead to unhealthy expectations for both you as a parent and from life in general.
Divorce is hard on the whole family, including your children. You should be aware of how your divorce is affecting your child. If you have family law concerns, Topham Family Law can help. Call our compassionate and experienced legal team at 435-884-3426 today to learn more.