Separating from your spouse is a decision both you and your ex have probably dedicated a lot of time thinking about. As grown-ups, you get to call the shots in your life, but your children must go along with what you decide. So, as you take steps to prepare yourself for divorce, it’s important to make sure your children are ready for this major change that will affect everyone in your family.
Here are three ways to help your children during your divorce:
- Co-parent as a unit
Through your divorce, you’ll cut romantic ties with your ex. But now is a better time than any to think about transitioning your relationship with your former life partner to a cordial and business-like one. Vowing to collaborate on parenting once you go your separate ways may help keep your kids happy and healthy. This is because when a parent gives their child’s other parent the cold shoulder or openly fights with them, children often suffer psychologically.
- Work through feelings together
You probably already prioritize your children and continually work toward strengthening your relationship with them. But when kids go through drastic adjustments, it’s especially important to observe their emotions. Guide them through processing and dealing with their feelings instead of burying them or engaging in unsafe habits to cope with sadness or confusion.
- Think about nesting
For some families, delaying the process of moving into two households can help their children in more ways than one. Familiarity of space, community and routines may help children feel more stable and less anxious. One way to do this is by nesting or keeping the family home and having the children live there full-time. For as long as a nesting arrangement lasts, kids won’t have to pack their belongings up week after week or adjust to new homes, rooms and schools. Instead, parents will split their time between the family home when it’s their parenting time and a place of their own when they are off-duty.
Maybe you feel like it’s healthiest to distant yourself from your co-parent or you are unsure about how to help your children deal with heavy emotions. Mediators and other legal experts can help you plan for uncertainties surrounding divorce or child custody.