Each year in the United States approximately 1.5 million children are transitioning due to changes in their parents’ marital or relationship status. We have all seen the ramifications of so much change. And we all wonder why some children appear more greatly affected than others. We have all told our own children to be kind to the child who is going through “a rough patch”. However, what can we as the parents do to help our own children fare better?
Helpful Tips for Parents:
Parents, keep at the forefront of your brain that your child did not ask for a divorce. And they are not divorcing themselves from you or the other parent. Both parents will continue to be the child’s parent. Allow and encourage your child to grow their own relationship with each of you. Each relationship will look very different so allow for this. If your child gives art work to their mom then don’t bemoan that you do not get artwork – maybe your relationship is one that your son sends you statistics in regards to your mutually favorite football team.
Keep a Uniform Schedule
Keep as much of a uniform schedule as possible from one household to the other. If your child goes to sleep at one home at a particular time then try to keep the routine close to the same as the other household. This goes for meals and meal patterns also.
Communication issues are the 2nd most stated reason that parents are divorcing – this is probably the most difficult component of a parenting plan. At a minimum, share a calendar so both parties can see what the big milestones of the month are – such as dental appointment, field trips, and science projects.
Model Peace Versus Chaos
Demonstrate that you, as the parents, will provide stability in the storm. Provide a peaceful environment so your child can process with you being fully alive and engaged in their life. To do this well you will need to gather a healthy support team to assist you – this could be your mediator, coach, counselor, or clergy person. You need an adult to process your newly found status. This support person should keep moving you forward through any conflicts that could and will arise. This team person should assist you in understanding your boundaries and help you integrate your ground rules with real life.
Divorce is a difficult milestone for many – but the parents’ job is to provide, protect, and help their child get to the next stage of life.
If you need help with how to keep going forward during this transition process, Wise Choice Family Solutions is here to help with Coaching and Mediation Services for the whole family.