Separation and divorce is a topsy-turvy time for all involved―especially the children. Everybody is dealing with new situations, scary feeling, and lots of change. It can be hard to know how to act and what to do. This is the second in a 2 part series of simple advice for parents going through a divorce. You can read the first post here.
Sometimes, we screw up. We say and do things we shouldn’t in our children’s presence. It’s OK to acknowledge that to your child. “I wish I hadn’t said that about Daddy, that was wrong of me. I know it makes you feel bad when I yell. I’m sorry, and I’m going to try not to do that again, OK?”
Some things don’t change.
You’re getting a divorce and your child wants to see what else is going to change. Are there still chores? Does homework still have to be done? What will bedtime be? It is up to you to maintain your expectations for your child’s behavior during this process. Your child depends on you to define the framework and to make it clear that the social studies project still has to get done and the trash doesn’t take itself out just because there’s a divorce. Children of all ages feel more secure when their parents are clear about the expectations in their own home. You may not have the same expectations as the other parent, but you do need to be clear about what the rules are in your home.
This is a new time for you too. You are newly single and there’s a whole new world out there for you to explore. However, children are confused by sudden changes in their parents’ behavior, whether it be dating, partying, or vacationing. You may be excited about your new significant other but it is challenging and upsetting to your child. Don’t be in haste to introduce new people into your child’s life. It’s better to wait a while to see where the relationship is going to go before introducing a new significant other to your children.
Take care of yourself.
Eat well, exercise, get plenty of sleep, get your check-ups and go to the dentist. Join a club, and don’t hesitate to find a therapist or a support group. This is an important transition in your life. You need to be well and strong to handle all these changes. Your #1 job is to be present for and take care of your children and you can’t do that well if you don’t take care of yourself. And when you take care of yourself, your children learn from that. Lie is not a success only journey and when your children see you handle hard times with strength and purpose, they learn how to be resilient. It’s hard to make time to take care of yourself but when you do, you give them security and stability.
Have a plan A, B and C.
Sometimes, our best-laid plans go awry. Dad gets stuck in traffic and can’t make the pick-up at the soccer field. The daycare provider has the flu and Mom has an important presentation at work. Life happens and we need to be flexible and always be thinking about alternatives. What family members and friends can we depend upon? Do I have Dad’s new cell phone number? When we plan ahead, we are less likely to become angry when our initial arrangement falls through and we parent better. When you have a plan, stick to it as best you can but also have backup options. When you do, you show your kids you’re in control and they are safe.
To learn more about how divorce mediation can help your case, contact any of our Divorce Attorney Mediators or Certified Divorce Financial Analysts at CT Divorce Mediation Centers. Divorce and Family Mediation and Collaborative Law are all we do. We have offices in Madison, New Haven, Cheshire, West Hartford, Glastonbury, West Hartford, and Windsor, CT. To find out more information or to schedule a consultation with our divorce experts, call us at (860) 986-1141.
DISCLAIMER:This publication is not meant to constitute legal, accounting, financial, investment advisory, or other professional advice. If legal, financial, investment advisory or other professional assistance is required, the services of a competent professional person such as CT Divorce Mediation center, should be sought.