Make it an easier transition for children during divorce

On behalf of Stange Law Firm, PC posted in Family Law on Thursday, September 6, 2012.

Divorce can be hard for parents and children. For the parents, this often leads to the temptation to start buying children gifts in order to cheer them up and to feel better about the divorce. And while this is a natural reaction, the truth is to a child this could look like their parent is trying to buy their feelings, which can of course do more harm than good.

Instead of buying gifts to help a child adjust to a divorce, rather parents should keep in mind a few simple tips and practice them as much as possible to have a better transition.

The first thing to keep in mind is that children are not their parents’ best friends. This means no trash-talking an ex-spouse to the kids. After all, that ex-wife is still their mom. Rather, children will grow from watching their parents deal with divorce in a healthy and mature way. When it comes to blowing off some steam about an ex, a friend should be who is vented to — not the kids.

The next thing is to make sure the home is actually a home. What this means is that if you are the parent who moved out into a new apartment, make sure there is an actual bedroom for the kids to stay in when they come to visit — not just a living room floor. And don’t live out of boxes. Rather, unpack and decorate with family photos and the children’s artwork. This simple act provides a sense of security and stability for the children.

The same idea can also be said for the parent who says in the family home. If there is a big empty space where the couch used to be, go out and buy or borrow a new one. Don’t let the empty space be a constant reminder to the children.

Lastly, don’t date until the divorce has actually been finalized. Not only will this help a divorce proceeding go more smoothly, during this emotional time children do not want their dad’s new girlfriend to step in and start playing the role of mom. Rather, wait until the divorce is finalized and then use the time when the kids are with their actual mother to go out on dates.

Source: The Huffington Post, “Attention, Guilt-Ridden Divorced Parents!,” Christina Pesoli, Aug. 31, 2012

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