The welfare of your children during divorce should be a big factor that plays on your mind and that of your ex. This is because divorce can be filled with conflict. Even when it’s not, it can still be upsetting for your children.
If not properly managed, your divorce may cause a negative memory for your children and could even lay the foundation for very disturbing behaviour later on. Therefore, you need to carefully manage your divorce and ensure that your kids emerge largely unscathed.
There are several things you need to pay attention to in ensuring the welfare of your children during divorce.
Put your kids first
It’s not just about you. Don’t think otherwise. You need to recognize that your kid’s emotional health is your biggest priority in the divorce. You and your ex may not be marital partners anymore, but you’ll always be parents.
Even if your ex is not being mature about the divorce, you need to take the high road. Don’t fight in front of your kids. It won’t do them good see you end the marriage on such a note. Always remember: it’s not just about you.
Announce the divorce together if possible
Make sure you are together when you announce the divorce to your kids. The news of a divorce is scary enough. Don’t make it seem like it was the fault of either parent. Ensure that they understand that the decision to live apart was mutual.
The importance of making the announcement together is that it shows your kids that the both of you will still be there as parents. You may be separated as spouses but you are still very much in the parenting gig. They won’t feel abandoned by either of you this way. This can also help you reassure the kids that they aren’t responsible for the divorce.
Make it as civil as possible
Avoid litigation. If you can’t, make it as civil as possible. The problem with litigation is that it often creates a toxic atmosphere that involves your kids in some manner.
If you want to take care of the welfare of your children during divorce, you should consider more civil options like mediation. Let the whole process be as friendly as you can make it.
Make a plan about life after divorce
You need to take care of all the details of life after the divorce. Decide on who should have custody or if you’d settle for joint custody.
If you are going for joint custody, you have to decide on how you’re going to make it work. The essence of making plans is to show your kids that you have considered them in the whole divorce process. If possible, try not to change their routine as much as possible. If both parents get along, an option could be “nesting”. It is a crazy idea but it has worked for many parents. The best part it works well for the children. See nesting is having a central house that the children live in and the parents alternate living in the home with the children. Crazy thought – the parents pack their bags instead of the children, but it is stable for the children.
The process of adjusting to a divorce is difficult. Try to make it as easy as you can by maintaining much of the normal routines. Don’t change schools or homes unless you absolutely have to.
If the kids have to adjust to a new home and friends as well as the divorce, it just makes things a whole lot more difficult.
Don’t make your kid have to choose
Never make your kids have to choose who to live with after the divorce. This would amount to asking them to take sides and you should avoid this at all costs. You want to foster a good relationship with the other parent even if you are not on the best terms with them.
Children during divorce need to be happy
Do everything possible to secure the happiness of your kids. Show up for playdates. Go out often. Don’t miss any chance to show up and be there for them.
Be there when your kids want to talk and do everything possible to help them understand the transition.
Remember – try to let the kids be kids – do your best to let the kids have a memorable childhood.