It can be heartbreaking to tell your kids that you’re getting a divorce. Having to deal with your child’s anger and sadness during the separation can be even more of a challenge. But in order to garner respect and positivity, both parents need to set a good example by being the best role models throughout the ordeal. The following are helpful ideas on how to best manage your child’s behavior.
Set the Same Rules at Both Households
No matter what age, your children can be strong-willed and test your patience. If you’re going through a divorce, you may notice their behavior is especially trying. If you’re living in separate residences, your children’s parental time may be divided within two households now that you’ve filed for divorce. Although you may feel bad about putting them through this upheaval, you don’t want to give them free reign. If you’ve set rules before the divorce, they need to be the same and in both households. Sit down with your ex and discuss the importance of enforcing the guidelines. If they disobey them, be unified in the repercussions such as grounding a teen for coming home late or no T.V. for poor grades.
Maintain Some Semblance of Normalcy
According to the National Family Solutions, an affordable family advocacy service, divorce can be an emotional roller coaster. That’s why it’s beneficial to have someone knowledgeable and trustworthy in your corner to assist you through this difficult ordeal. It can be also be hard on your children, so you want to find ways to remain tied to a normal schedule as much as possible. Sit your child down in advance and go over the schedule for the week. If there are activities they normally attend, do your best to ensure that they participate. Stay diligent with their studies to ensure that their grades don’t suffer. If the family gathers for dinner each evening, continue the tradition in each household. Vacations, birthdays and holidays may be also different. But you can help your child by pointing out the positives in celebrating events twice and with each parent.
Resist the Urge to Spoil Your Kids
You may have the urge to spoil your children for the demise of your marriage. But you can keep your kids from acting out by not letting the guilt overcome your parenting skills. If you overindulge by letting them do what they want and have their hearts desire, you’re going to raise out-of-control kids. Talk to your ex and set up the same parameters at both households. If there are to be large purchases, it needs to go through both parents such as a car, laptop and phone. While a child may enjoy the splurges, they’ll appreciate the value of things and limits their parents set in the long run.
Separate Your Feelings
You may harbor a lot of animosity toward your soon-to-be ex. But your children don’t need to know the intimate details of your break up. Instead of telling them about their lying, cheating and deceitful ways, find ways to separate your feelings. Remain respectful of your ex during and after the divorce. If your partner was that bad of a person, they’ll find out on their own. Children are perceptive, and they may already have an idea of the events that led to your divorce filings. If you’re the bigger person who plays fairly, your kids are going to have a better chance of adopting the same attitude. They may even take that positivity and respectfulness and use it in their own situations later in life.
Re-evaluate Your Parenting Skills
A divorce is a life-altering change. While you may want to co-parent similar to the way you did in the past, it’s normal to make changes. If you didn’t agree to your partner’s parenting skills, it’s ok to re-evaluate them. Talk to your ex to work toward changes in an amicable and respectful manner. Because your kids are going through enough at the initial stage of the divorce, you don’t want to change too many rules all at once.
Look for Signs of Stress and Anxiety
Divorce can be an emotional experience for each member of the family. If your kids are sad or angry about the separation, they may express their emotions in a variety of ways. You can be a proactive parent during the divorce by opening your eyes to the smallest of changes such as acting out at school, lack of motivation in social activities, poor grades, and change in sleep patterns and becoming more fearful. If you’re on speaking terms, both parents need to discuss the symptoms with your child. If they don’t feel comfortable talking to you, enlist the help of a therapist who can help them deal with their feelings.
While the divorce may be a refreshing change for you, your child may react negatively to the disruption. The above strategies can be helpful when avoiding changes in your child’s behavior over the divorce. They may also offer ways for you to cultivate a more loving relationship in the future with your kids.
For more information, please visit www.NationalFamilySolutions.net.