Divorce is a life changing occurrence that brings many changes to the lives of not only the couple getting divorced but to the extended family and especially to the children of the couple. There is no getting around the fact that a divorce can be extremely damaging to children; however, there are things you can do to ease the stress and help children come through this time of change emotionally intact. Learning how to raise your kids in unity after divorce is not just a nice idea, it is an absolute necessity if you really want to have happy and healthy children.
Kids get to be Neutral
In the face of a split of mommy and daddy, kids get to be neutral parties. The most important issue in any divorce should first be the welfare of the children. Neither parent should discuss the ins and outs of the divorce around the kids. Kids should not have to take sides in a fight that is between the two most important people in their little lives. Don’t confide in your kids because you are sad or mad. Answer their questions in simple and truthful language, and explain to them that they are too young for some details and that those things are between mommy and daddy as a couple, not about mommy and daddy AS mommy and daddy.
Both parents should have equal access to the children until they adjust to a new family situation. Children need time to get used a new schedule or adjust to not seeing the other parent every night at bedtime. This might mean you have to allow each other access to the other’s home, but you should do what is best for your kids. Kids should be comfortable in both homes, and that may mean the other parent spending a small amount of time in the children’s new space in the other home to help them feel secure.
Children are smart! You must parent together! Do not let your children see you in disagreement over parenting issues such as where the kids stay for the weekend, bedtimes, what to eat or not to eat, or any number of other parenting dilemmas. Of course, during a time of divorce, you will probably disagree on all of those things, but at all costs present a united front in front of the children. Don’t disrespect each other’s parenting choices in hearing of the kids. Children very quickly learn to use these divisions to their advantage, and while it may seem cool to them at the time, this behavior can be very damaging.
While in the midst of a divorce, do the very best to discuss parenting issues with respect for each other. Remember, just because you have decided not to live your life together as a couple doesn’t change the fact that you will always live your life as the joint parents of your children. Learning how to raise your kids in unity after divorce will be the best thing you can do for your children.