Parenting is undoubtedly one of the most rewarding experiences, but it’s also one of the most challenging, especially during the toddler and teenage years. If you’re a parent who is going through a divorce, your life is about to change. Before when you were married, you had emotional and financial support, but now you’re going to be on your own when your children are with you and that “emotional support” won’t be the same.
Soon you’ll find that not having your spouse there to help out here and there will present some challenges, some of which are expected while others may be unexpected. Depending on the ages of your children (or child), you may find yourself dealing with stomach flues at 3:00 am when you have to get up early for work, tantrums because your child left something at mom’s or dad’s house, teenagers missing curfews, and much more.
To help you better navigate your new life as a single parent, follow this advice:
- Don’t be shy to turn to friends and family for support. Even if you don’t feel like talking about your problems or asking for help, you may find it’s exactly what you need, even if it’s just a shoulder to cry on, some babysitting, or a glass of wine and an empathetic person to talk to.
- If you feel all alone, reach out to some divorce groups and try them out. In such a group, you may get some great advice and make some friends in the process.
- Read some books on parenting during and after divorce for some coping tips.
- If you get along with your ex, sit down and have a heart-to-heart about establishing a healthy co-parenting relationship that involves honest and open communication, and the same disciplinary styles and schedules in both homes.
- If you are in a high-conflict relationship with your ex, discuss a parallel parenting approach with your attorney. With this approach, you would both parent your own way and have limited contact with each other.
- Remember, depending on your child’s age, he or she may be taking the divorce as hard, if not harder than you. If your child is blaming themselves for the divorce, remind them that it’s not their fault and that you love them unconditionally.
- Realize that divorce may affect your child’s academics and behavior. Be on the lookout for changes in your child’s studies and behavior. Also, notify their school counselors and teachers and ask them to let you know if they notice any changes.
- If your child is taking the divorce hard, consider taking them to see a counselor or therapist.
- Spend lots of extra time with your children during and after the divorce process.
- Remind yourself that everything is temporary and this too will pass.
One of the best ways to minimize the impact of a divorce on your children is to intentionally develop a healthy co-parenting relationship with your ex. To do this, treat each other with decency and respect and avoid badmouthing each other to your children or having arguments in front of them. If your children see you and their other parent getting along and showing a united front, it will go a long way in easing the effects of the divorce.