There is no doubt that divorce and especially divorce with children can be extremely difficult. In fact, many people stay together longer than they should because they don’t want their children to go through the trauma of a divorce. In the long run staying in a bad marriage can actually be more detrimental to the kids in the family. Living in a loveless house or angry home where parental fighting is the norm can leave children in an unhealthy situation. Divorce with children is never easy, but there are some tried and true ways to make it easier for your kids to cope. Kids should be your kids, not your confidant. One good rule of thumb is not to confide in your kids about adult issues. Affairs, money woes, communication issues with your ex, are not appropriate child topics. It can be very difficult at times but try not to talk despairingly about your ex or future ex. Isolina Ricci, Ph.D., family therapist and author of Mom’s House, Dad’s House, says, “When children are free to love both of their parents without conflict of loyalty, to have access to them both without fear of losing either, they can get on with the totally absorbing business of growing up, on schedule.” When you are so angry you could explode put yourself in a small time out. Take some deep breaths and relax. Or if you are so heated you can’t take it, go to the bedroom, lock the door and hit the pillows, no one will hear you! After an immediate vent, it is a good idea to find a friend or even a therapist to talk to about your issues. You need to talk through things, just don’t use your kids as your sounding board. Keep up the same routines. Try to keep the normal family routines you had as much as possible will help your children better cope with divorce. Keep Friday movie nights or going to church on Sundays. Maybe the kids are going back a forth now but there is no reason you can’t keep many of the things you did as a family going. This goes for parenting as well. When you divorce with children it is best to continue to parent as you always have. If you have always been the strict one, keep it that way. Guilt can make the best of us do silly things. Don’t feel the need to buy you kids love at this time. Sure they may use the drama to try to get a new video game console, later bed times or even a new car but that doesn’t mean you need to say yes! What they really need right now is consistency. Your rules should stay the same. Kids crave (though it doesn’t seem like it all the time) consistency and routine. Rules help them flourish in the long run. When you divorce with children it is best to keep the lines of communication open between both parents. If your child is at your house and is excited about making the track team or getting an A on their spelling test, encourage them to call the other parent and let them know. On this same line of communication do not grill your kids after they visit your ex. It is ok to ask how their week or weekend was but try not to make it a police investigation. It can be hard because you may want to know everything but the less you pry the more you might find out in the long run. You don’t want you child to feel uncomfortable talking to you and gauging whether you are going to get mad or jealous. This can be an especially challenging for parents when an ex starts dating someone else. Ask for help. If hostility continues between you and your spouse a family therapist or mediator might help you come up with a better communication plan. Maybe talking on the phone doesn’t work; email, shared calendars or perhaps a simple text might keep the lines of communication open best. If you feel you child is not adapting well to the changes it might be worth the investment to get them in therapy too. They need a safe place to share their feeling and a therapist’s office might be just the place. If that doesn’t seem financially feasible maybe you could set them up with someone else both parents trust to DK Simoneau, an award winning children’s book author who has recently written a book for kids about shared custody said it best, “Your ex is not your child’s ex they love your ex just as much as they did before. Do not talk down about someone they love. Do not make them feel bad for loving their own parent. They did not choose this. Choose you kids first.” Divorce with children is never easy, hopefully these tips can help the whole family. Michael Puhl of Puhl Law Group PC is a board certified family law lawyer. He was recently selected to the Texas Super Lawyers list in 2016. No more than five percent of the lawyers in Texas are selected by Super Lawyers. Call 972-569-3166 for an appointment and learn more about the divorce process.
Divorce with Children- Helping Them Cope
On behalf of Puhl Law Group, PC | Sep 23, 2016 | Uncategorized