Let’s face it, raising your kids after a divorce isn’t easy. You constantly worry how the divorce will affect them. You wonder if you did the right thing. And, co-parenting is not a walk in the park.
Try to remain positive, and remember that you can be an amazing parent after a divorce.
The divorce rate is nearly 50%. This means, you aren’t alone and you aren’t ruining your kids life. As a matter of fact, studies show children growing up in a high conflict home are actually more unhappy than children of divorce. If you are Christian, this can be a hard one to swallow.
If you strive to put your kids first, then you can actually learn to be a better parent. It’s not always going to be easy, especially in the beginning. The good news is you can work through it.
Here are 21 tips that can help you be an amazing parent after a divorce:
- Be honest with your kids. Make sure it is appropriate for their age. Lies will catch up and make things worse, in the long run.
- Don’t bad mouth the other parent. It’s important to model good behavior for your children, by getting along with your ex.
- Never use your kids as a weapon. Don’t ask your children to spy on your ex, and report back their every move. This will make your child feel uncomfortable and like they are betraying the other parent.
- Don’t give your kids the guilt trip. Let them make their own decisions. You may not like that your child wants to go on vacation with the other parent. But, when you are divorced this is the reality of the situation.
- Be consistent with everything you do. The kids are living in two different households. Make sure they have a routine that is consistent. That way they will know what to expect.
- Communicate with your ex. I know this may sound impossible, but it’s one of the best things you can do. Let your ex know when you are going on vacation. If the school calls make sure to let your ex know. That way the kids won’t be able to pull one over you.
- Encourage your kids to talk about their feelings. Let them have space to talk about how they are feeling without judgement.
- Love your kids. And, stop hating your ex. This will eventually bring you down.
- Acknowledge their feelings of wanting their parents to get back together. But, make sure you are realistic. You don’t want to give them false hope.
- Do not parentify your child. Don’t talk to your child about how you feel or your ex. This is something you save for your close friends or a professional.
- Don’t let your kids get away with murder. I know you feel bad about the divorce, and you are worried about how it will affect your kids. You still have to discipline them. Don’t let them get away with anything they wouldn’t get away with if you were still married.
- The divorce is not your kids fault. Make sure you tell them that, and make sure they understand that.
- Your kids are not the messenger. I know your ex may be difficult. This doesn’t mean that you make your kid the messenger. This will cause unnecessary stress in your child’s life.
- Control your temper. I know you have angry feelings about divorce. You never thought this would happen, but it did. You need to accept what is.
- Share the chores. If your kid vacuums at your house, don’t make him/her vacuum again at your ex’s house. This requires clear communication. Your child shouldn’t have to suffer and have double the work.
- Let your kids be kids. Don’t involve them in adult problems, or force them to make decisions they aren’t equipped to make.
- Maintain your kids community of support. Just because your child lives in two household, doesn’t mean they should have two sets of friends.
- Communicate with the in-laws. Maybe, you didn’t get along with them, but your kids love them. Make sure they still get to visit the grandparents.
- If possible, spend time together, like you did when you were married. Go out to dinner once in a while, or spend time together lounging at the pool.
- Take care of yourself. Don’t neglect yourself because you are divorced. This means keep up with medical and dental appointments. Get your hair done, go to the spa or take a bubble bath.
- Stay hopeful. I know you may be feeling burned. This is actually a natural response to a divorce. Learn what you can and where you went wrong. Don’t give up on yourself. There will be somebody else when you are ready.
You may feel like the world is ending, but your will get through the storm. Many children from divorce grow up to be very responsible. They have learned how to live in two households, and how to compromise.
If you liked go to Raising Healthy, Happy Kids, for more free tips. You can have a happy and healthy family, with a little hard work.
I’m Lianne Avila and I’m a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist, in San Mateo, CA. I love working with children and helping them through the challenges of a divorce. You can sign up for my free weekly newsletter for more tips on parenting, relationships and dating. You can also call (650) 892-0357 or email [email protected], to learn more about me and the services I provide.