How to Keep Your Child Thriving After Divorce
Divorce sometimes means the end of a family as it was, but as painful as this loss may be for children, it also provides an opportunity to establish a new and different dynamic. Adjusting to a new way of life after the breakup of a marriage can be challenging for everyone involved. Parents and children alike, but especially parents who are willing to put effort into making this transition easier for their kids, should take some time to consider ways to help them adapt and keep thriving after divorce.
Divorce is an emotionally intense process for both children and adults. One of the greatest fears many divorcing parents have is that this life-changing event will negatively affect their children. While true divorce can take a toll on children, there are ways to improve the situation for everyone involved and ensure that children thrive after divorce.
Divorce does not necessarily mean your child will struggle with anxiety, depression, or low self-esteem. But if these problems already exist, here are some tips to help minimize the damage and make sure your child is thriving after divorce:
Give Your Child a Plan
One of the best ways you can reassure a child going through a divorce is by giving them a sense of certainty about what things will be like from one day to the next. Divorce does not have to be a significant disruption in a child’s life: so, provide them with as much stability as possible by helping create a plan for everything from sleeping arrangements and childrens dentist schedules, meals, enrolling for preschools programs, early childhood enrichment work, and activities.
To ensure that your kids are thriving after divorce, let every child know where they live. You may want some time apart after divorce, but both of you should agree through an ideal family law attorney about co-parenting. It is best to have at least one parent that your child can continue to live with regularly. A great way to reassure children during this transition is by letting them know exactly where they will be staying from one night to another. Let your child know in advance if you are going out of town on a business trip or vacation. This will give your growing child an idea of what to expect when you are gone, so they do not worry about thinking about the worst.
Allow Them to Express Their Thoughts and Feelings
Kids will always want to vent about divorce if allowed to do so. Just by listening to your children, you will show them that you love and care about what happens in their lives. Take time out of every day to talk and listen to what is going on with them.
Your children may or may not express how they feel about a divorce, but you need to let them know that it is okay to do so in both words and actions. To have your children thriving after divorce, let your little ones know that they can cry even if boys are not supposed to cry or tell us how they feel without being worried about offending anyone or saying the wrong thing.
Keep communication open about new and other significant developments. The more problems there are with communication between you and your child after divorce, the more challenging they will have to cope with their feelings it during this life-altering event.
Many people find it difficult to hear about someone their child may have started dating, especially if they are talking about them outside of their presence. But you need to try and stay calm when your little ones tell you anything that may bother you about their spending time with people you do not know or trust.
Remember that this is a life-changing situation where your grown children are looking for guidance from you. For them to keep thriving after divorce, if there is someone in the picture who seems nice, let them get to know your child even if they have serious doubts about the relationship. These feelings will build up over time if not talked out before they become too much to handle.
Be Realistic About New Relationships
You want nothing more than to see your little ones happy, so be careful how many conditions you place on allowing them to date. While you should not let them go out regularly without supervision, there are many different ways to say no if they ask, which can be discussed at another time when you are calmer. If your child is 16 years of age or older, remember that they have the right to choose who they want to date, just like every other teenager in most countries, regardless of their parents’ opinion on the subject.
Do not put pressure on them about starting relationships with new people. You may not want your little ones dating someone else immediately after the divorce, but being happy means allowing them this new experience, especially if it helps boost their self-esteem. Remember that it is their choice to tell you about their significant other when they feel ready. There are many ways to see them without you being present if they feel uncomfortable discussing the issue and person with you.
Make Sure They Continue Doing Their Usual Activities
To ensure that your children thrive after divorce, develop a routine before things get out of hand. Both parents should try and do one thing to develop a routine before things get too far off track and before an official custody schedule is made between the two households. This way, kids will not need to constantly ask when they are going back to dad’s house. Children also have access to the storage facility holding their items; hence life goes on as usual. When things are out of control, anything can happen with no notice, which is bound to upset your children more than necessary.
It is fine to reassure your child that things will be different after the divorce, but their daily routine should not change unless necessary. Sticking with schoolwork and extracurricular activities is key to keeping up with classes and competing in sports or working on projects. It may seem unrealistic that they can still do this when both of you are going through a divorce, but trying to maintain as much normalcy as possible will make your child feel better about themselves, even if it makes adults feel uncomfortable.
For children to keep thriving after divorce, keep them mentally engaged with school and extracurricular activities. Kids want structure in their life just as much as adults do because it helps them remain level-headed throughout all of the chaos that divorce brings into their life. Shoot for having a set bedtime every night, encouraging them to do sports or other extracurricular activities, so they have something fun to keep busy with after school, and doing meal time together at least once a day.
Do Not Try to Solve All of Their Problems for Them
One positive thing about divorce is that it teaches kids how to solve problems on their own. There will be plenty of time for you to swoop in and fix everything when they get older, but right now, let them take charge of solving their problems instead of volunteering your help every time something does not go your way. If your child is having difficulty with homework, let them figure it out without your help. If they are struggling with friends at school, give them tips but do not do their work to ensure the kids are thriving after divorce.
In short, for your children to keep thriving after divorce, give them some space. Do not expect your children to be perfect during and after the divorce process. They will most likely be angry, resentful, upset, sad, or all of these emotions at once. You can help them cope with these feelings by giving them time alone if they want it. Letting them go off on their own for a few hours might do wonders in helping them deal with everything going on around them.
Give Them Unconditional Love
For your kids to keep thriving after divorce, give them plenty of physical affection. Physical touch is the best way to make sure your child understands how much you love them after a divorce. Even if they do not want to hug or kiss you every time you see each other, show it by holding hands, putting your arms around them while watching TV, playing games together, attending a family dental care clinic together, taking the kid to the childrens orthodontist appointment and giving big bear hugs at night before bedtime.
It is normal for kids to go through different emotions after a divorce, especially if they had planned things before it happened. Some might get angrier, while others may become depressed. But no matter how they feel, telling yourself that your child is going to be fine and remembering to love them even when you do not like their behavior will show your little ones the only thing that matters is having someone who cares about their happiness.
Regardless of Where They Live, Be Involved in Their Lives
When you acquire physical custody of your child or children through the child custody attorney, then you might be tempted to leave everything up to the other parent when it comes to major decisions like where they will go to school and what their schedule looks like. To ensure your child is thriving after divorce, do not do this! If your child is in your care, you should be involved in making big decisions that affect them. You and the other parent can both agree on a schedule for drop-off and pick-up times, but they must know you have invested in their life, regardless of where they live.
Also, remember to praise their efforts at school and any extracurricular activities. After a divorce where they have lost half of the family as far as household income goes, it can be challenging for children to find motivation for anything other than academic and extracurricular activities. But if they manage to stay at the top of the class or do well in a team and have any other ways to show the children are thriving after divorce, make sure you tell them how proud you are instead of waiting for an awards ceremony. Your words might be what keeps them striving for more even when things get tough.
By following up on your children’s lives, you will be wary of changes in behavior. If your child starts having trouble sleeping or eating, becomes more irritable than usual, or shows signs of depression, make sure to talk to a doctor right away instead of trying to solve things on your own.
Do Not Feel Guilty About Moving on With Your Life
No matter how much you want to stay in a relationship, sometimes there is nothing left to salvage, and it is better for both parties if they go their separate ways. Reminding yourself of the person you used to be before your marriage ended can help stop any feelings of guilt from trying to settle in after a divorce. If your ex-spouse moves on before you do, do not let this make you feel like less of an individual, because no one has the right to prevent someone else from living their best life.
Help them cope with saying goodbye, as it is always hard, especially if you say goodbye to someone forever after a divorce. Allow your children time to grieve the loss of their other parent by spending extra time together, but make sure they understand that life goes on even when it feels like there is nothing left.
It is easy for parents to prioritize their children, but sometimes putting your needs before theirs can help them feel loved because they know you have the strength to take care of yourself after a divorce. Even taking just one night out with friends can give you enough energy to be the best parent possible for your little ones. So, do not hesitate before asking someone or something else for assistance when you notice they are beginning to miss spending time with you.
If there is one thing you can do to help your children through a divorce, it is make sure they know how much you love them and that the divorce was not their fault by forgiving both yourself and your ex-spouse, even if there are no excuses for what happened. In extreme cases, avoid the option of having to put child up for adoption. Agree on child custody or wait for the court ruling while ensuring your kids do not pick up on any hatred between you two. So, instead of fighting each other, focus on finding ways to learn from the mistakes made and learning to move forward as better individuals without someone else holding you back.