It’s no secret that divorce is never easy, especially when there are children involved. As a parent, your first concern is probably your kids and how they’ll deal with the situation. As someone who has experienced a difficult divorce with my oldest, it is way harder than you ever expect. This uncharted territory can go array quickly so here are a few things to keep in mind when you’re parenting after divorce.
Don’t Put Your Child in the Middle
So many ex-spouses make the terrible mistake of putting their children in the middle. Regardless of how you feel about your ex, don’t let this happen to you. At no time should you make a child feel like they need to take sides. This always causes more harm than good.
I remember as a child my father would use us as bargaining chips. I remember him always trying to make us choose sides. We never felt comfortable saying either way because we loved both of our parents.
Don’t Play the Blame Game
This is probably the most common issue in parenting after divorce. One or both parents may be harboring resentment towards the other parent which comes out frequently around little ears. In your head, you may think you’re making the child understand what the other parent did wrong but in reality, you’re not. This is extremely DETRIMENTAL to your child. You will only be harming the relationship you have with your child and not the other way around.
As a child and even now into adulthood, my father would and does constantly blame my mother for everything. When he would get mad at us he would call us her name as an insult. Of course, I never took it that way but believe me, I resented him every day for doing it. My mother never said one bad word about my father even after everything he did to her.
Don’t Avoid Discipline
When it’s necessary to punish your child, don’t let your guilt over the divorce stop you from doing so. Consistency is extremely important at times like this. Failure to dole out consequences, when kids do something wrong can easily lead to worse behavior. Some children act out as result so keep this in mind however, you don’t want things to get out of hand. You need to still discipline your child like you did before the divorce.
Don’t Argue Over Small Parenting Disagreements
After a divorce, it’s crucial for both parents to agree on things such as education, financial issues, and insurance. If you can do that, consider yourself ahead of the game. It’s not, however, all that important to agree on trivial things such as a slight variance of bedtimes or whether or not your kids should be allowed to eat sweets when they visit your ex. An exception to this is discipline. For example, if your child isn’t allowed to play video games at home for the weekend and is scheduled to stay with your ex, your actions employ the same stipulations.
Do Talk About It
Take the time to talk to your kids frequently about how they’re feeling, as well as how you’re feeling. Let them know there’s nothing wrong with crying when they feel the need. It’s just part of being human. If they’re old enough, the last thing you want to do is leave your kids wondering what’s going to happen in the future. So, answer questions if they have them. Even as the years go on, be sure to keep asking and keep checking on on them. Remember, it’s a scary time for everyone involved!
These are just a few things to keep in mind while going through and after your divorce. No, things won’t be easy. However, as time goes by, you’ll typically see everyone start to adapt. It doesn’t happen overnight. But, with patience and due diligence things will eventually get back to a “new” normal.
Marcie W. says
Parenting is hard enough as a couple, so I am sure going through a divorce makes things extra difficult. These are excellent things to keep in mind.
Terri Beavers says
I always feel bad for kids when their divorced parents put them in the middle of everything. I hope your post makes others understand that there can be a right way to parent after divorce even if it’s a bitter divorce.
As the child of divorce, I can say that while it’s hard, it’s definitely something that can be overcome. What is most important is that Mom and Dad put their differences aside for the sake of the kid(s).
Ruth I says
Divorce is difficult to accept for children and to the parent too. These are important tips to keep in when dealing with one.
Getting divorced with kids is never easy. It is so hard not to put your kids in the middle. Being civil and keeping things amicable is sometimes easier said than done!
These are some really good things to keep in mind. My parents are divorced and they did well with it. I’m just glad they were still able to get along after it all.
Vyjay Rao says
Divorce is indeed a traumatic experience for all. but the kids face the brunt and it can be a really traumatic time for them. I guess speaking about it and handling it sensitively is the order of the day.
This is good advice. My parents divorced when I was young and they argued, put me in the middle and continue to blame each other for every thing that has ever gone wrong. It was not a fun ordeal!
Aduke Schulist says
This is great advice. My parents divorced and unfortunately they played a lot of these “games”. I’d also add don’t talk bad about the other parent. Leave adult things to the adults.
Nicole Caudle says
I need this. I’m going through a rough divorce and it’s been extremely hard. As much I just want to be done and never communicate again I know I have to. It’s just hard when someone treats you so bad. These are great tips. I just need to maintain myself.