After going through the divorce process, it is important to remember that you are not the only one in your house that has gone through a life-altering event. No matter how amicable the divorce, your children have been impacted in some way by the break-up. Children often have a much harder time dealing with the life’s challenges post-divorce than do the parents. If your divorce has left you in a position where you are no longer speaking to your now ex-spouse or if your communication with your ex is now hostile, your children are often aware of this tension and left with a million questions as to why this has happened. Children often do not understand what is going on and cannot explain why mom and dad now live in two different homes. This post-divorce period is the time when parents need to put their differences aside and focus on their children. Your kids did not choose to be part of the divorce and are often vulnerable during this transition. Take this time to focus on your children and their transition into life, post-divorce.
You can anticipate that there is an adjustment period as you begin exercising your new custody plan (in the St. Louis area, this is often referred to as a parenting plan). It is your job as a parent to make sure your children feel loved, even when you feel that your ex-wife/ex-husband is failing at his/her new responsibilities. Be a positive role model for your children, showing your then that their new situation will soon feel normal. Avoid purposefully complicating custody exchanges. Avoid yelling at your ex when he/she is late dropping the children off at the end of the day. Avoid causing a scene at your children’s’ sporting events when your ex brings his new girlfriend/boyfriend.
Your children do not want to have to choose between you and your ex. If there is hostility, your children are likely sensing it. It is important for your children to know there are still two parents that love them despite the new living arrangements. Make an effort to keep your children out of your arguments with your ex-spouse. Children should not be listening as you and your ex transition into co-parenting from two households. It is also a misstep to force your child to choose between parents. This struggle manifests itself in different ways. Be cognizant of the fact that parenting is not a competition. Two great parents are better than one. Stop yourself from speaking poorly about the other parent in front of your children.
Be reliable. Your children have just experienced a very trying period in their lives. They have gone through a difficult time and countless changes. Now is the time to be the stable, reliable, and supportive parent your children need. Focus on establishing a routine; this new routine will soon become your family’s new normal.
If your kids are unable to open up to you or your spouse about how they are feeling after the divorce, begin researching therapists in your area. If you are having difficulty with parenting your child as he/she reacts to the divorce, it is time for you to seek professional assistance from someone who can help equip you with the tools you need to help your child.
If you or someone you know is contemplating getting divorced, contact The Law Offices of Kathleen E. Shaul. Kathleen E. Shaul is an experienced family law attorney dedicated to helping her clients. Contact our office at 314-499-1476 to discuss your case and schedule a confidential consultation.