It’s easy to get swept up in the wake that follows divorce. Although you now have separate households, you still share parenting responsibilities.
Parenting decisions still have to be made, you still have to compromise, and you need to remain aware of how decisions make an impact on your children.
Don’t Pretend Nothing Happened
If you intentionally make life hard for your ex, you may also make life more difficult for your children. Your children need time to cope and adjust just like you do. Often, parents think they are helping their children by sticking to the “norm” and trying to minimize the negative impact divorce can cause. You may even pretend everything is fine in an attempt to avoid discussing the situation.
While the details of your case should never be discussed with your children, you shouldn’t avoid talking about it all together. Pretending can make it more difficult for children to adjust and cope with their parents being in two separate homes. It can also create the false hope that you will remain married and living together.
Remarriage Requires Adjustment
When a party chooses to remarry, this can also be a difficult adjustment period for children. Typically, enough time has passed that children have again adjusted to life with their new routine. Marriage can cause changes and new elements to that routine causing stress on a child.
For children that have held onto the hope their parents may someday reconcile, they may blame a new spouse for their role in dividing their family. The may also become possessive over their parent and become jealous and more needy than usual.
Children Deserve Explanations
Children deserve to have a conversation with their parent (both parents, if possible) about changes that will affect their lives. Changes such as who they will be living with, visitation schedules, marriage, etc. should always include a discussion to make sure the child feels comfortable and has the opportunity to ask any questions.
These conversations work best if both parents can be involved and have a role in explaining things. Take time to sit down as parents and make a plan for how you will have this discussion. The child shouldn’t feel like they are part of a “good cop/bad cop” routine; they need to know that you are unified in your decisions and both of you are there to offer support.
Remember this doesn’t just affect you. Consistency is one of the best things for your children. Once you have a plan, stick to it. Choose your timing deliberately. Make sure you and your ex are both calm when you have discussions with your children. Your children can sense stress and your anxiety, which can make the process harder. Stability, consistency, and emotional comfort are some of the best things you can offer to your children.
The experienced attorneys at Burton Law can help with divorce and child custody situations. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.
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