Children have often been called the innocent victims of divorce. Everything in their life is subject to change as the family dynamic changes. An experienced attorney can offer some simple guidelines to help minimize the negative aspect of these changes.
Where your children live, how they relate to their parents, friends, and family, and even how they perceive themselves, are all affected by divorce. One of your first, and most important, jobs will be to rebuild the security and stability they need to grow and develop properly.
Here are some guidelines to help you work through the process:
- Put Your Children First – Assure your children that they are important to you. Words aren’t enough. Show them by your actions that you care about them and that they can rely on you.
- Create Structure and Consistency – Children thrive when they have structure and consistency in their lives. Establish clear schedules for when, where, and how they will see each parent. Stick to those schedules as much as possible, but be flexible. If the schedule needs to be changed to accommodate that big party or an important school event, work with your former spouse to help make it possible.
- Include Both Responsible Time and Recreational Time – Many parents focus on only recreational activities when they have time with their children. This is especially tempting for non-custodial parents, who may see the children for only a few days at a time. However, it is important for them to participate in your daily activities. Give them chores to do and share activities such as shopping, cleaning, and yard work. Always make sure they keep up with their schoolwork.
- Create New Rituals and Memories – Use your time with the children to begin creating new rituals and memories. Whether it’s a favorite restaurant, following the same baseball team, or just sitting outside and looking at the stars, find things to do with your children that will strengthen your bond going forward.
These guidelines won’t solve all of your problems, but keeping them in mind may help you begin the process of creating a new life with your children after your divorce.