All parents want to protect their children as much as possible from the stress and sadness that a divorce can bring. However, sometimes their own animosity toward each other prevents them from doing the basic things that can ease their kids into their new normal of splitting their time between their parents and two homes. Following are a few things you can do to make things easier for your kids.
Stick with a routine
Try to keep as much of their lives as unchanged as possible. It’s always best when kids can remain in their school and continue to be around their friends and neighbors. Of course, you’ll all need to develop new routines, such as moving the kids back and forth between homes as you share custody. Try not to deviate from your custody and visitation schedule unless it’s necessary. Your kids should be able to count on this new routine.
Don’t put your kids in the middle of your conflict
If you have to work out custody or support issues, do it away from them. Don’t use them as messengers to communicate information to each other. Find a means of communication that works best for you and leave them out of it.
Be encouraging and positive about your kids’ time with your co-parent
This means not just abiding by the agreed-upon schedule. It means encouraging your kids to tell you about their activities with their other parent. Don’t make them feel guilty about leaving you or enjoying their time with your co-parent.
Introduce new boyfriends/girlfriends slowly
If you’re ready to move on, that’s great. However, your kids might not be ready for a new person who’s taking up your time and attention. They may also feel like this new person is trying to replace their mom or dad. Just because you’re crazy about someone doesn’t mean your kids will like them. Introduce them slowly and in small increments of time.
Communicate with your kids
Encourage your kids to tell you how they’re feeling — even if it’s not something you want to hear. This can help prevent them from acting out in ways that are unhealthy.
Having a detailed parenting time schedule in place and sticking to it can help your kids adjust to their new life after your divorce. Your attorney can help you as you work with your co-parent to do that.