Make it a Healthy New Beginning: How to Help Your Kids Adjust to Life After Your Divorce

Make it a Healthy New Beginning: How to Help Your Kids Adjust to Life After Your Divorce

Divorce is a major adjustment for everyone in the family. Kids go through at least as much stress as their parents do. What can you do to help them weather the storm?

One of the most important things for kids is to know that they still have the love from both of their parents. They probably fear that they’re going to lose one of their parents forever and they need reassurance. It’s comforting if they see both parents regularly and if they know they’re going to continue to see both parents regularly.

Grandparents are a big part of the lives of a lot of kids, too. If your children are fortunate enough to know their grandparents well, don’t let a divorce damage this valuable relationship.

If at all possible, avoid big changes. If kids can continue their friendships and go to the same school, that provides them with a reassuring degree of stability. Maintaining routines at home helps, too. If Friday night is always spaghetti night, it’s important to honor the tradition.

It’s hard, but it’s definitely best for the kids if they aren’t around when their parents argue. Seeing the people they depend on out of control makes it seem as if their lives could spin out of control, too, and they are likely already feeling insecure because of the divorce. Parents should also avoid criticizing the ex in front of the children. Again, children depend on their parents, and it’s frightening to see them as weak. Then there are questions of divided loyalties and other emotions that children are not equipped to deal with.

This might be a great time to establish new family traditions. A vegetable garden, converting the garage, learning how to square dance—a fun project can make everyone feel better. If your kids have special interests, maybe it’s time to indulge them. The whole family would probably enjoy learning about astronomy, and your budding scientist daughter would love to teach you all how to use a telescope and what stars are in the constellation of Orion.

It doesn’t take long for new routines to take over. It helps enormously, though, if the routines that you establish in the painful early days of a divorce are positive routines that are going to lay the groundwork for a happier future.

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