Making the decision to divorce when you have children puts them in the middle of the situation. Minimizing the impact on them must be a priority for both parents. It isn’t always going to be easy and it might require you and your ex to work together. Just remember that the needs of the children come first.
The trauma of divorced parents can be far-reaching. It has been suggested that children who have divorced parents are twice as likely to develop health issues and are also two times more likely to drop out of high school. Even if your children aren’t heading in that direction, there are some ways that you can reduce the impacts of your divorce.
Set a high standard
When you are communicating with your ex, take the high road. Don’t let your ex pull you into an argument. Instead, set a standard of respect that can’t be denied. Not only can this keep the peace, but it can also take your children out of a contentious situation. You should communicate directly with your ex. Never try to use your children as messengers.
Work on yourself
You have to work on your own emotions related to the divorce so that you can be there for your children. When adults are stressed, they might not handle situations in an appropriate manner since the stress might cause them to overact. Speak to a therapist if you need help finding ways to cope with your emotions, but don’t suppress them because this can be detrimental to your mental health.
Encourage your children
Remember that your children need to have a relationship with both parents. You should encourage them to spend time and enjoy the company of your ex. Just because the marriage went sour doesn’t mean that person is a bad parent. The encouraging you do should also extend to other family members like spending time with grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.
Build new traditions and memories
As your life evolves after the divorce, you will be able to set new traditions with your children. For example, if your ex has them for Christmas, you might choose to go shopping as a family to buy gifts on Christmas Eve when there are good sales. Family movie nights, camping trips and similar traditions are fun memories and traditions that they can look forward to.
Ensure that any agreements that you and your ex make are documented in writing. This can help you to avoid conflict later if questions about them come up.