You may be thinking, “how can I help my kids transition during a divorce?” One of the biggest reasons unhappy married couples stay in a marriage is because of their children. According to the Daily Mail, one in four couples stay together solely for the fear of breaking up their families. It is not an unfounded fear. Children of divorce suffer from many problems, which include adjusting to a new life that may eventually include a new stepparent.
Nobody wants to break up a family. And the thought of having temporary custody of your children can be heartbreaking. However, staying in a bad situation, overtime, can be very detrimental to children as well. One survivor of her parent’s divorce wrote in the Huffington Post that, “The divorce still hurt. But naturally, I had seen it coming and to a certain degree had expected it. As they began their new lives separately, I noticed something-relief. They were noticeably happier people, and in turn, so was I-despite the inherent feeling of despair that comes through divorce.”
So once you’ve made the decision to leave, how do you help kids during divorce, or what are some tips to help kids through a divorce? Here are some family divorce tips.
1. Make a commitment with your ex to put the children first.
Once you’ve decided to bring up divorce to kids, it can be rocky. Many parents have trouble putting aside their differences in order to put the children first. Both of you love your children, but they are not a part of the drama. Communicate with your partner about your children-including school, counseling, transitional issues, or disciplinary problems. Try not to make your parenting styles contradict each other too much. If one parent is having a problem with the child that needs to be addressed, put aside your feelings about your ex and work with them to solve it. It takes time and patience, but it can be done.
2. Allow your children to be angry for a while.
This doesn’t mean that you should accept poor behavior from them. It simply means that you should ask your kids how they are doing on a different basis. Expect them to dislike you and your ex for a long time. They may blame one parent over the other. Perhaps they will withdrawal in school, or become sullen for no reason whatsoever. Divorce is something adults go through, and is not easy for children to understand.
3. Don’t bend the rules.
Children can act out of anger. They think you broke the rules by leaving, and now they can break the rules as a means of revenge and attention seeking. As tempting as it can be to give into guilt, it won’t do anyone any favors. Stop trying to one-up the other parent, regardless of how tempting it can be. Consistency is something that kids seem to understand and respect.
4. Consider counseling.
It may be hard for your children to be truly honest with you about how they feel. Maybe they are afraid they will use it against the other partner, or even you. A child can benefit by talking to a professional who understands the ins and outs of the psychological effects that divorce has on children. Counseling helps everyone, and often times provides the true healing that they are craving to badly. It may take time, but counseling can be a valuable asset to children who need help recovering from their parent’s divorce.
5. Wait to date.
Yea we know that you may be ready to get out there again, but your children aren’t. It’s fine to date and look for someone who could join your family, but not quite yet. Be single for a while. Be careful about who you introduce to your children. Expect them to be weary of your new partner. Be wise in choosing someone who is sensitive to their needs and will be a good asset to.