The divorce isn’t final, but it’s in the works. You know your relationship to your Ex and your children will change in many ways you can predict and other you cannot. But just because you are dealing with each other on a different plane, it’s critical you focus on one theme: You are still a family. Some rules may be different, how you deal with each other will change, but you still must see yourself as a family. And in a family, parents must work together for the greater good, seeing the care and well-being of the children must take precedence.
Your children’s needs of security, stability and encouragement will continue. The job of divorcing parents is to go the extra steps to ensure those needs are maintained.
The stress of divorce will have a profound impact on your relationship with your children. More than ever, they need to know that both parents will still provide and care for them. They need to know that while the parents will no longer be living together, the kids need to feel a loving and nurturing environment in two households.
During a divorce (and even after), it’s tempting to morph from parent into friend, or buddy to your children, thinking you want your new home to be the “fun place,” where kids do and eat what they want, and stay up at all hours. Being the Disneyland parent is wrong for you, the kids and your relationship. Kids need their parents’ mature guidance. While some relationship adjustments will be needed, whatever rules worked when you were together should largely stay in place. That stability, knowing what to expect, understanding that rules will be carried out in the same way, goes light years in developing children who develop responsible behavior.
Children need to know they didn’t cause the divorce. Sometimes parents discover they can’t get along. Children need a lot of parents’ counseling. They need both parents to listen to their fears and concerns. They will be scared, and they need to know that both parents will continue to love them unconditionally.
If everyone keeps in mind that everyone still makes up their family, with the same values and priorities, you can still maintain a functioning family unit. The marriage may be over, but your family is not.
How have you worked to keep family focused AFTER your marriage ended?
Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici and featured image courtesy of PhotoStock both from FreeDigitalPhotos.net.