The initial early period following a divorce can be a difficult and emotionally draining time for all members of the family. A divorce not only affects your nuclear family and your kids, but also for the aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents that are involved in you and your kids’ lives. Parents after a divorce must make sure that they always concentrate on doing the best course of action for supporting their child(ren). Even if the divorce process has been messy and gone on a lot longer than it should have, this isn’t your kids’ fault of course, and you should focus on putting them first, and giving them the best childhood that you possibly can.
We have come up with a guide to the different ways co-parents can support their kids after going through a divorce.
Emotional Support and Providing Stability
Whether your kids are very young, teenagers, or even adults, a divorce can be a hard thing for your kids to understand and it is a lot for them to take in. At first, your kids may be frustrated with you and your ex. If they are old enough to understand, you and your co-parent should sit them round the dining table and explain to them clearly the living arrangements and the parenting schedule etc, so they know the practical side of the separation and where they will be living. Divorces inevitably have a large impact on children.
Make sure that you are sensitive to their emotional wellbeing and communicate with them in a respectful, calm manner. If one of your kids is particularly struggling and finding life difficult after your divorce, it may be a good idea to try and suggest they go to a family therapist or get some sort of professional support. Tell them there is no shame in expressing how they feel about the divorce.
Young kids crave stability and security, and they like to know where they stand when it comes to the parenting schedule and when exactly they will be at Mom or Dad’s house. A good tip to provide kids with stability after divorce is not playing around too much with the parenting schedule. For example, if one parent is supposed to have the kids Friday-Sunday every week, it’s not a good idea if they keep cancelling because they are going out with their friends on Saturday and can’t look after the kids.
Another key thing for parents to arrange following a divorce are the finances. The legal process for the divorce will deal with child and spousal support, marital debts and assets, and property investment entanglements you may have together. The longer your marriage and the more financial assets you share together, the more complicated organizing the financial side of the divorce will be.
When it comes to the financial side of the divorce, remember most of your money will go on supporting your kids and their future.
Supporting Your Kids in Following their Career Ambitions and Life Goals
Your kids may have big dreams for what they want to become when they grow up. You and your ex should both try and support your child(ren) in following any goals or career ambitions they may have as much as you can.
It’s important after your divorce for you and your co-parent to co-operate and find common ground to support your kid’s college fund, as going to college in the USA can be notoriously expensive. If your child wants to become a doctor in the future for example, this will involve many years in college studying Medicine. Research the best ways to save for your kid’s college to help you plan for this future expense.
Child Custody and Providing an Organized Parenting Schedule
Child custody can be one of the toughest terms for parents getting divorced to negotiate and agree on during a divorce settlement. Deciding who gets which children and when can be a very contentious issue.
Although parents should never have favourites when it comes to their kids, it may be the case that one of your children has a special relationship with one of you and therefore wants to spend more of their time at one parent’s house. If your children and teenagers and old enough to make informed decisions, you should try and respect their wishes and listen to their thoughts on the custody and parenting schedule arrangements.
The main goal of creating a reliable parenting schedule after a divorce is to provide your children with a routine, and simply letting them know where they will be living and when during the week.
Most parents move out after a divorce settlement has been reached and both end up eventually having their own places that the kids can visit. However, if finances are quite tight, you may find yourself temporarily living with a friend or a family member for a while before you can get your own home.
Try and prepare your new place to get it ready for your kids. Fill the house with their favorite toys, gadgets etc and decorate the place nicely. If you are lucky enough to have a garden, you may want to put some fun things in it for them to enjoy such as a swing or a paddling pool. A green space in the garden may also be perfect for your kids to be able to throw a football around together.
Living arrangements are one of the most important parts of the divorce negotiations as kids like to settle in and feel at home where they live and have stability in their life. Poorly organized living arrangements and parenting schedules may cause your kids to feel anxiety or start behaving badly.
Continuing to love and give all your support to your child(ren) following a divorce is essential, no matter their ages. Don’t forget adult children who no longer live with you may initially feel confused and as if the divorce has come out of the blue. Providing your children with support and guiding them through life should be a parent’s main goal.