Raising a child can be stressful enough, yet having to do so in the wake of a divorce can be even harder. Still, some priorities do not change even after divorce — it is important that parents continue to provide a healthy and loving environment for their children.
Key issues to remember
Thankfully, divorced co-parents have many resources available to help them understand and achieve these five goals.
- Children need quality time: In the wake of divorce, time can be scarce. Handling work, errands and maintaining a home every day can be very challenging for a single parent. It is important to spend time with the kids doing things they enjoy like watching movies, playing games or spending time outside.
- Children understand and respect honesty: Kids of divorced parents experience a lot of emotions including anger, confusion and guilt. They likely have a lot of questions about the divorce and the future of the family. Parents should use age-appropriate language to let their kids know they are safe, heard and loved. Speaking with the children together as parents can be helpful.
- Kids need a healthy community: Like adults, stressed children turn to their friends and family for support. Maintaining and encouraging these relationships will help kids feel safe during the transition. Using other sources of support, including professional resources like a trained family therapist, can also help build community.
- Co-parents need to support each other: Although difficult for many ex-couples, divorced co-parents who work together might find more success. Build and maintain a schedule but allow for flexibility. It can be important for kids to see their parents overcome their differences to maintain a functioning family.
- Co-parents need to take care of themselves: This might be the hardest thing to do after a divorce. It can be easy to sacrifice one’s own wellbeing to give more, especially for their kids, but balance is vital. Maintaining physical, mental and emotional health is necessary.
The biggest priority
It is most important to make sure to prioritize the children. Children of divorce need context and understanding to fully process the event. Sometimes though, legal recourse is necessary to protect the best interests of the children. Concerned parents should not hesitate to contact a local family lawyer for a consultation.