Guest post by Andrea Needham, EldersDay.org
Divorce can be a difficult time for families as they go through a major life change. Kids can especially be affected when the routines they knew and loved are suddenly off the table. Kids thrive with routines and rituals in their lives. Their home, which used to be a place for everyone to be together, is now a broken environment, and it can be difficult to adjust.
Emotions may run high right after a divorce. Children may act out or become angry or sullen. Parents feel guilty for bringing on such a big life adjustment and seeing their children’s discomfort with the change. There are so many emotions that your children may experience, and chances are it won’t be easy to process. Read on for thoughts and tips on how to help them cope and thrive.
Post-Divorce: What To Do and What Not To Do
- Open up to your kids. The most important thing a parent should do in a difficult situation like this is to speak openly and honestly with their child. Keeping the lines of communication open will give a parent more insight into what their child is thinking and feeling so they can have a better idea of how to handle it. Participating in family therapy can help in situations involving children.Talking with your child is important since they may be feeling a bit of guilt due to the divorce. If they will be spending time with the ex-partner whereas the family once did things together, they may worry about your well-being. Keep the tone upbeat and assure the child that you will be alright. Let them know what you plan to do and how you will enjoy yourself while they’re gone — but don’t put it in a way that makes them feel like you would rather not be with them.
- Stand your ground. While divorced parents may be tempted to put up a white flag for the time being and spend time together as a family, it’s not as good an idea as it sounds. Doing this may give the child unrealistic expectations about the possibility of reconciliation. They may get their hopes up, making the fall that much harder when the realization dawns on them again that their parents are not getting back together.
- Coordinate. However, DivorceAndChildren.com notes that there is one scenario where it may benefit your child to come together with your ex: coordinating on a big-ticket gift. This isn’t to say that you should splurge on a large purchase for your little one to unwrap, but if you do, do it as a gift from the both of you so neither parent appears to be one-upping the other. Also, be sure it’s something they can use at both parents’ homes. For example, if it’s something that requires Wi-Fi, each house will need an internet connection, and Mom and Dad should have consistent rules about when the child can use their new gadget.
- Clean house. If you are remaining in the family home, it’s a good idea to clean your house of dust, dirt and unhappy memories. Your home, which was once a place where you felt safest, can feel a little different after a divorce. Take the time to clear bad energy from it by cleaning everything and removing all the clutter. You can use a naturopathic remedy to clean windows and doorways. Do a deep clean on your furniture by hiring professional cleaners that specialize in upholstery. Using a service directory like Angi, you can locate pros near you and read customer reviews before making the call. Once your home is clean, positive energy can start to fill your home again.
Dealing With New Relationships
If one or both of the parents are involved in new relationships post-divorce, they should take into consideration the best time to bring the new person around. If anything, bringing over a new boyfriend or girlfriend right after the papers are signed is bait for confrontation and upsetting your child. Instead of including a new partner in family activities, consider taking your time and planning a future occasion to celebrate together, preferably in a group setting.
Creating a Fun Atmosphere for Children
Make the effort to engage your kids in wholesome, family-friendly activities that can help get a child’s mind off the divorce. Some fun things to try with your kids:
- Baking or cooking together.
- Watching movies that celebrate single-parent families after a divorce.
- Taking a walk around the neighborhood.
- Making crafts together.
Children of recently-divorced parents may have a particularly difficult time right after the divorce because routines and traditions they have known since they were little are no more. The best way to deal with these situations is by being open and honest with your kids while also setting clear boundaries that won’t ruin their expectations. The time right after a divorce is not the best time to bring around a new partner; instead, take this time to focus on reassuring the family. There’s no way to ensure that life after divorce will go smoothly, but they can be a bit easier with these simple tips.
For more guidance on navigating your divorce, contact Andersen Law PC for a free consultation at 720-922-3880.