Parenting Tips During a Divorce
Marriage has been in the news quite frequently as of late due to John Edwards and Tiger Woods, among others. Despite the infidelities of those involved, one aspect of these marital battles that has been overlooked is the kids. Often times, children are caught in the cross fire of these love stories turned court room dramas.
Despite divorce taking an emotional toll on the bride and groom, it has a massive rippling effect with children, no matter what their age.
I know this from experience, as I'm from a family that has been carpet bombed by divorce. Regardless of the marital issues, there are some pretty simple tips to follow that will help you parent through the paperwork, court appearances, family separations and awkward holiday situations.
Honesty Can Go a Long Way
Regardless of what you say to your kids, they won't understand why the divorce is happening. However, be honest with them and speak to them in a manner that they'll understand.
Comfort is Important
It is absolutely critical that both parents comfort their kids through the divorce, ensuring them that regardless of how things shake out, their love for them is unconditional and will never change.
It's Not Your Fault
Kids will want to blame themselves, thinking of all the times they were "bad" and should have listened. Parents need to tell their kids that in no way shape or form is the divorce their fault. A feeling of guilt in children can fester and ripple into other aspects of their lives, including school, relationships with friends, etc.
Routines are Important
As much as the parents can, it's important to maintain routines. Despite mom or dad not living in the same home anymore, life needs to continue. Whether that means dinner at 5pm, school pick up, soccer practice, etc., the routines need to continue. It shows the children that you are moving on with your routines and life and that someday, the raw emotions will level off.
Just Love Them
At the end of the day, kids need the assurance that you are still their parent no matter what. Whether they are toddlers, pre-teens, teenagers or adults, children will always look for that assurance that their parents will be there for them no matter what emotional, physical or material need they may have.