Your children will need time and support to cope with your divorce. It can be traumatic for children to watch their family change unexpectedly. Behavioral issues, social withdrawal and even worse performance at school are all possible signs that a child isn’t coping well with their parents’ divorce.
The chances are good that you may have stayed in an unhappy marriage longer than you wanted to just because you wanted to shield your children from the stress of divorce. Thankfully, you can still make their happiness your priority.
Once you have decided to move forward with the end of your marriage, there are plenty of ways that you can make your new family arrangement easier for your children.
Keep a positive attitude about your ex
No matter how angry you are at your ex, they are still the other parent of your children. You want your children to develop healthy social habits and respect authority figures, and that starts with their parents.
Talking negatively about your ex could damage your relationship with the children or their relationship with the other parent. As hard as it may be, try to speak positively and enthusiastically about your ex as a parent and about your children’s time with their other parent.
Recognize that co-parenting relationships take work
At first, while the conflict is still fresh and emotions are extreme, you and your ex may need to minimize your interactions. However, as time goes on, you will need to find a way to relate to one another that is positive and healthy.
Redeveloping a relationship as co-parents rather than spouses may require counseling. It is possible that you can treat one another with respect and commit to healthy communication and conflict resolution systems.
Prioritize predictability and stability
Everything about your family may seem to change rapidly, which can stir up negative feelings in your children. When they don’t know what to expect, they may be more likely to act out.
You and your ex can help make this transition easier for them by keeping things the way they always have been. Enforcing the same schedule and household rules can help, as can establishing a predictable schedule for custody exchanges.
Keeping the focus on your children can help you handle the difficult family changes that come with sharing custody after a divorce.