Children typically encounter many challenges when their parents divorce. You may have done what most other Colorado parents do after deciding to sever your marital ties, which is to gather the kids all in one room and have a family discussion about it. From that point on, however, each of your children may have different reactions and will likely need guidance, support and encouragement from you, especially as the first year without the family under one roof unfolds.
Like most parents, you want what is best for your children. However, how you interpret that and how your ex does may spark some friction. If a particular obstacle arises, you can reach out for additional support at any time. In the meantime, you can take several steps to help your children cope and move on in life.
Maintain a sense of normalcy
There's no way to escape the fact that divorce disrupts children's lives. However, the more you can help them keep as close to their regular routines as possible, the better. Most children thrive when there is structure and normalcy in their daily lives.
When your children are going back and forth between households, some things will undoubtedly need to change from what they're accustomed to. That doesn't necessarily mean your divorce has to wreak havoc in their lives. By keeping up with certain traditions, schedules and house rules, you show your kids that some things stay the same even when family dynamics change.
Avoid parental conflict in front of your children
Most kids experience high levels of stress when their parents divorce then constantly argue over them. If you and your ex disagree about a particular issue, it's best to discuss it in private and to keep adult issues between adults. Otherwise, your children may feel torn between you and your ex, which can make it difficult for them to cope.
Provide ways for kids to express themselves
By encouraging your children to share their feelings, you let them know that it's okay to be sad, worried or even angry about your divorce. However, you can also let them know that you will not be upset with them no matter how they feel and, more importantly, that they are not to blame for the breakup of your marriage.
Many kids feel better when they can share their feelings through drawings or by writing in a journal. You might consider giving your older kids a gift, such as drawing supplies or a blank notebook to help them navigate their post-divorce emotions.
Problems that go beyond feelings
It's no secret that parental disagreements often lead to serious legal problems regarding child custody, support or visitation issues. If you don't feel able to handle a specific problem on your own, you can access legal support as needed.