Good parenting during divorce is essential for the well-being of the kids, because divorce is hard for everyone, but especially for children.
It is the moment when they realize the two people who love them the most, their protectors, will not be together anymore. In their minds, safety and comfort is connected to that picture of “together” and without that – the world might fall apart.
This is a scary moment for them, a time of uncertainty and instability that can throw them into anxiety. So you have to help them while you’re going through your divorce and guide and treat them in a way that will safeguard and protect their well-being.
Parenting During Divorce: The Top Things To Remember
Remain cordial and respectful. Emotions will run high during such a time but the most important thing you can do for your kids is to remain cordial and respectful towards each other. Parents often underestimate how much kids pick up on their behavior but they do so more than you think.
Divorce will be a hard and painful process for you but this isn’t just about you. Your children must adjust and cope too and if you are handling it poorly, then your kids will handle it poorly too.
Do not underestimate your kids. Your children may not comprehend the verbal language and titles used to identify situations and emotions but they still feel it nonetheless, which makes good parenting during divorce even more essential.
What kids need more than anything at this time is to see their parents coping productively. It is natural that they will get upset and even cry — this is part of the process and you shouldn’t try and hide everything from them because you won’t be protecting them this way. It is alright to occasionally let them know that you aren’t 100 percent happy right now.
Do not expose them to ugly fights. Showing them you are sad is one thing but it is quite another to fight in front of them or to speak badly about the other parent to them. Remember that no matter what your partner has done, he or she will always remain their mother or father.
Speaking badly will only reflect poorly on you as a parent as the years go by. Moreover, don’t send your kids away from the room to accommodate your fighting, rather remove yourself. Use letters or emails if talking face-to-face creates too much conflict.
Help them express themselves. Kids need expression so do encourage certain artistic activities as an outlet for them to cope with the changes. Drawing is the easiest one to try. Colored pencils and plain paper or a set of watercolors can really help them to vent their feelings in a safe manner.
Keep their structure and daily routine. Adhering to the kids’ usual schedule and daily routine is another way of good parenting during divorce. Change is scary for children because they are at the mercy of adults but having them keep to their routine will make the process easier for them.
Try sharing a calendar app with your ex-partner for the kids’ schedules, so the two of you can stay on top of their activities and the kids’ routine can remain intact.
Let them know the divorce is not their fault. It is crucial for kids to feel that the divorce is not their fault. Children need to learn that change is a part of life, so even divorce can be a good thing but they must be reassured that the separation has nothing to do with them.
Get professional help. Divorce is not something you can figure out legally, emotionally and mentally all on your own. You might think you have a good handle on it but you are never fully prepared or strong enough for this type of experience. Find a support group or get professional help.
Do not use the kids as pawns. One of the most destructive behaviors I have witnessed during the years is seeing parents use their kids as pawns. The only time a parent should ever prohibit time with the other parent is if there is sufficient danger and risk of abuse or neglect.
Accept that you cannot control their parenting style. You will need to set ground rules together but then, how they parent is up to them and how you parent is up to you. Your child needs to be exposed to the differences, it helps them establish their own personality and provides opportunity for their growth and learning.
Communicate like never before. Communication is key during this time. If you communicate and involve the children in their choices and decisions as much as possible and within reason, it will help them feel as if their opinion matters. There is a delicacy to this, it also needs to be done with some professional help and guidance along the way.
Get Help for Parenting During Divorce
Divorce therapy and professional mediation can be helpful from the moment one of you decides on a separation. Couples who have come to therapy even when they weren’t sure they wanted to separate or divorce but later decided that they did, had very calm and successful divorces because they honored the process and did not rush with such a big decision.
This support and process is even more useful when kids are involved.
Divorce therapy can support both sides during this tough time. It can help you come up with a plan for managing parenting during divorce and for finding support to avoid making mistakes that can negatively impact your kids.
To learn more about how therapy or counseling can help with parenting during divorce, enter your information in the form below.