There’s a lot of issues at play when you get divorced from your partner, but one of the biggest is how you’ll both care for your children. Divorce can be hard on your children, but it doesn’t have to be. Here’s how you can parent after a divorce and minimize the impact it’ll have on your children.
- Work Together With Your Partner
“This is the last thing you’ll want to do, but you’ll need to put your own feelings aside” says parent David Pearson, from UK Services Reviews. “Work together to create a plan, and parent your children together.” It’s important to show your children that although you’re no longer together, you both have their best interests at heart. Come to an agreement as soon as you can with your ex, and stick to the plan going forward.
- Watch How You Talk About Your Ex
It’s understandable that you want to trash talk your ex, but watch when and where you do it. You no longer love your partner, but remember that your child still does. You need to be careful never to talk negatively about them when they’re around. Try your hardest to be neutral about them, no matter how you feel. This goes for social media too, as your children can find what you’re saying online.
- Don’t Use Your Children
Once you’re separated, it’s very tempting to ask your child what your ex is up to, or ask them what the ex is saying about you. This is incredibly unfair to the child, as they’re being asked to spy for you on their other parent. Remember, their feelings are just as important as yours, and they’re having to adjust to a whole new living situation. Don’t ask for information on your ex, and don’t put them in that position.
- Be Honest
Right now, it’s important to be honest with your children, no matter how old they are. Nothing’s worse than being lied to, and children will often know if you’re not telling the truth. You can be honest in an age appropriate way, even if they’re very young. The phrase ‘Mummy and Daddy don’t love each other anymore, but that doesn’t change the way we feel about you.’ is a cliché, but it works for young children.
- Consider Therapy
In some cases, you may wonder if getting your child therapy is a step too far. “It’s certainly a good idea to give your child someone they can talk to as they’re going through this change” says psychologist Andrea Peters from Reviewal. “Having someone removed from the situation to open up to can take a lot of the pressure off.” Many recommend looking for a therapist while the divorce is happening, rather than after the fact.
- Give Your Child Choices
There’ll be several choices that have to be made during the divorce process, when it comes to your children. Depending on their age and ability, you should involve them as much as you can. Make it clear that you’re asking for their opinion, and that you won’t be upset with them for any choice they make. This is important, as many children feel they can’t make choices, as they don’t want to upset a parent.
- Be Consistent
No matter what you do, ensure that you’re consistent in the way you parent. Don’t make any sudden changes if you can help it during this period. Your child is going through some huge changes right now, just as you are. That means that any other changes during this time can make them feel unbalanced, and unsure of where they stand with you both. Being consistent can avoid this.
- Consider Other Parenting Techniques
Of course, not every divorced couple can co parent in the usual way. Your ex will be the same person they were before the divorce, and that means that they may not be able to do this with you. If this is the case, look into alternatives that will be the best for your child. “My ex and I weren’t able to co-parent for several reasons” says parent Harry Jenkins, from Elite Assignment Help. “That meant that we ended up parallel parenting instead.”
- Be Empathetic
Allow your child to express their feelings about the divorce. They may experiencing many different feelings. Letting them talk about them, without fear of reprisal, means that they’ll find it much easier to get through this period.
- Work With Your Child
Finally, remember that every child is different. The parenting books may tell you to do one thing, but your child may need a different approach. You know them best, so help them in the way that suits them best.
These tips will help you all get through the divorce process, and find a new ‘normal’ that works for you.
Rachel Summers works in education, working with students to help them get ahead in their studies. This work has brought her to several different services, including UK Top Writers. Her writing online furthers this goal, helping students get the most out of their education.