Having to move and adjust to living in single-parent households are two realities many children of divorced couples have to process. But, from their perspective, they might feel simply feel confusion and frustrated with all the new routines and logistics of living between two homes.
To help your child through this difficult time, it’s important to put yourself in their perspective. From there, think about how you can replicate routines within two homes, give your child a space to express themselves and keep your interactions with your ex as civil as possible.
Provide consistency when applicable
When you transition from marriage co-parenting, it might be easy to slip into your own set of rules in your new homes. However, it’s important to note that children of all ages benefit from routines. This is because parents make so many decisions, like divorce, without children having input. So, having similar mealtimes and bedtimes allow a dose of predictability that can translate to comfort.
Let them know they are free to feel
Some children might not hint at any signs of discomfort or sadness about the divorce, but internally they could be feeling deeply conflicted. Your child might not express how they feel because they don’t think their feelings are valid or simply because nobody ever asked. Instead of letting your child internalize emotions and let them build up, it’s important to do regular check-ins and ask them how they feel.
Don’t fight in front of your kids
As someone who is going through the divorce firsthand, you have every right to feel sad or angry too. However, it’s a good rule of thumb to not let your children witness negative interactions with your ex, hear you say rude comments about your ex or have them be a messenger between you two. At the end of the day, if your co-parent is a solid parent, then you shouldn’t try to skew how your children view and get along with their other parent.
After all, with all this transition divorce presents, the more support systems the better.