Parenting After Divorce: Tips From A Divorce Lawyer
Going through a divorce can be a difficult time for every member of a family. Although parents can experience a great deal of emotional pain and stress during this time, they must learn to help their children cope with the changes in the family structure.
Parents who have no experience with divorce may be unsure how to proceed. An uncooperative ex-spouse can make parenting with traditional methods seem impossible.
However, a divorced parent can also be a great parent. Using the following five strategies will help you be an excellent parent in spite of divorce.
- Let Your Kids Know that the Divorce Was Not Their Fault
Tell your children that you love them and that the divorce was not their fault. Even if your marriage made your home life miserable, it was still familiar to your child. The changes will probably be upsetting to him.
Children may wonder if you will stop loving them or if they caused the divorce. You must periodically reassure your children that this is not the case in the months following the divorce.
- Be Consistent
It can be tempting to slack off on providing boundaries when you are tired or when you haven’t seen your children in awhile. Yet, children are more secure when parents provide rules and boundaries.
Even if your ex-spouse does not have the same rules, it is okay to lovingly tell your children, “I know your mom does things differently, but when you are here, you must do as I say.”
Your children will eventually adjust to the differences in households, although they may accidentally “slip-up” from time to time. Be sure to give them grace for unintentional mistakes.
- Find a Healthy Outlet for Your Emotions
Divorce will stir up many strange and difficult emotions. You may feel angry, depressed or lonely, particularly when your children are visiting their other parent. To cope with these emotions, some people may overeat, drink excessive alcohol, watch too much television or develop other bad habits.
However, a wise parent will find healthy outlets for emotions. Expect these feelings to come, and have a plan in place to manage them. Instead of eating, perhaps you may want to exercise.
Instead of drinking, you may need to call a friend to talk. Instead of watching television, you may want to take up a new hobby.
- Be An Adult
Even if you feel that your ex-spouse sometimes acts childish, stay calm, and behave in a mature way. Likewise, you should remember that, even if your child seems sophisticated and mature, she is still a child.
Children are unequipped to handle certain information, such as the specifics of your failed marriage or your feelings regarding your ex-spouse. Your child needs to know that he can count on you to behave consistently and maturely.
- Find Ways to Communicate with Your Ex
Even if your ex drives you crazy, you still share at least one child. You are going to have to talk sometimes. Try to stay matter-of-fact and to the point. Make the conversations brief and calm, and try to avoid getting sucked into arguments.
Learn to recognize when your ex is attempting to provoke you into a fight, so that you can make an effort to avoid it. Texting might be a good way of communicating necessary information in an unemotional manner.
Divorce changes so much in a family. In order to be a good parent, you are going to have to learn to adapt to those changes.
Even though your marriage may not have lasted, you still have wonderful children as a result of the relationship with your ex-spouse. Make them a priority in the months following the divorce so that they will be secure, loved and healthy.
About the Author
Scott Morgan is a board certified Austin divorce lawyer who regularly blogs on the subject of divorce and family law. You can read his blog at AustinDivorceSpecialist.com
- Smart Divorce: Parent Happy, Healthy Kids – Outlines a step-by-step holistic approach on how to help your children not to just survive, but thrive. The return of hope to your children’s lives is the greatest gift you can give them. Even if it’s been years since the divorce, it’s not too late to begin the healing.
- The Secret to a Friendly Divorce – The divorce book you want your soon-to-be ex to read. Your personal guide to a cooperative, affordable, and out-of-court settlement. It shows you a surprisingly simple way to discuss money with your soon-to-be ex without stirring up trouble and without making your divorce harder than it has to be.
- How Do I Tell the Kids About the Divorce? A Create-a-Storybook Guide – This unique book doesn’t just tell you what to say — it says it for you! Fill-in-the-blank templates show parents how to create a storybook with family photos and history to simplify this tough conversation. With therapist advice. Professionally endorsed.