Divorce is hard on everyone. Whether it has been coming a long time or is sudden, it is difficult. The hardest hit in most divorce cases are the children. Statistics show that kids of divorce are less successful than their peers with the same socioeconomic advantages overall. Though this is a hurdle for parents to overcome, it is not impossible. Here are some tips to help:
1. Get a Lawyer
Don’t slug it out yourself. Law firms like Tampa-based Blumenauer Hackworth are designed to create a level of separation between you and your spouse.
This makes it about the business of dividing assets, and not the hurt.
2. Create a Joint Parenting Plan
If you have joint custody, then the best rules for your kids are the ones that they already lived under. Big decisions should still go through all parents so that the kids don’t think that they can play one against the other.
3. Don’t Criticize your Ex
Kids with parents who criticize one another end up needing to pick sides. This gets coupled with guilt for the divorce, and is very toxic to a child.
4. Don’t Give Guilt Breaks
If your kids are struggling or acting out due to the divorce, keep your same structure of discipline. Breakdown of these boundaries is even more confusing for them, and gives them a behavioral crutch of using excuses of bad times to behave badly.
5. Let Them See You Happy
Find humor and fun every day, even in the rough patches. This will give your kids a warm and wonderful coping strategy for their own life struggles.
6. Let Them Ask Questions
Though some issues are too complex for a young kid to understand, find ways to compassionately let your kids ask questions. If the reason you divorced was due to infidelity, find a kind way to explain it, like “Mommy and Daddy loved each other, but we needed to do different kinds of things to be happy in our own lives. We split up so that we would each get the best chance to be happy in our own way.”
7. Don’t Force a Replacement
If you have moved on and found someone else that may become a future stepparent, let your children adapt to this in their own time. Don’t force intimacy, but don’t be afraid to let them know that rudeness will not be tolerated in regard to anyone. Be comfortable with a level of wary respect and let things warm on their own.