Many of my clients are afraid of how divorce will affect their children. No matter what the Custody Arrangement. Whether you have a joint or sole custody agreement, here are five tips to help your children thrive after the split.
1. Stability. If possible, keep them in the same home or at least the same school district. Help facilitate their spending time with their friends those same friends who were around before the divorce.
2. Respond to Their Questions. Don’t shut them out when they ask probing questions. For example, why did you leave daddy? Why can’t daddy or mommy live here anymore? Why aren’t you able to buy me all the electronics that daddy or mommy gets for me?
3. Consider getting your children into counseling. Of course, it is very difficult if your kids are under the age of four but if they are a little bit older, they could really benefit from sounding out their concerns with a trained counselor or therapist. That counselor may also involve you and the ex if possible to improve the family dynamic even though you are now a family living apart.
4. Make spending time with your children a priority. This may be difficult especially if you are working more to make ends meet but your children need to know you are there for them. Take the time to have meals together. Carve out time to just go out and have fun with them.
5. Don’t put your children in the middle of your ongoing conflicts with the ex. Maybe your ex never has the children ready to go with you and you are always waiting 15 minutes to a half hour for your parenting time to begin. Don’t bad mouth mom or dad for making you wait once the kids finally get in the car. Stay positive and show you are happy to see them even if your time was delayed.
Remember to let your kids know over and over again that you did not divorce them!