Divorce brings about a multitude of worries to parents. It affects your living situation, financial standing, social circle, and self-esteem. Perhaps the biggest frustration you’ll face is the effect divorce has on your children.
Divorce increases their chances of developing mental health problems. It can also have lasting negative effects like failed relationships, lack of confidence, and self-destructive behavior.
Keeping up a strong paternal presence in their lives can prevent these problems. It might be trickier now to establish a good relationship, but it’s what your children need to rebound from the ill effects of divorce.
Staying in Touch
Custody arrangements play a big part in determining the kind of contact you can have with your children. Courts often favor joint legal custody to enlarge both parents’ participation in their children’s lives. With your visitation schedule pre-planned, you can plan how to maximize each opportunity. Let them choose where to go and what to do whenever possible. It’s a helpful move while all of you are adjusting to your new family set-up. This also relays to your children that you have their best interest in mind and want them to be happy.
Make an effort to take note of their preferences, especially in food. You’ll spend most of your quality time over meals, so knowing their inclinations make it easier to pick the right restaurant. Remember things like their favorite Korean fried chicken or the dishes they react to in the menu. These details can have a good impact on your future outings.
Keeping It Meaningful
Your physical absence can hinder your involvement in their everyday affairs, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. You can stay in touch through social media and still make it meaningful. Ask about their school life and the people they meet. Talk about your morning routine and encourage them to share their opinion about your new job, house, or passion project.
Creating a safe space to express their thoughts and emotions can reduce any stress they may feel due to the divorce. It also allows you to offer guidance when they deal with other problems. Be careful not to assert any negative views you may have, especially about relationships. The most you can do is to advise caution and be there for them. This is especially true when you talk about your ex-spouse.
Bad-mouthing your former partner can easily ruin your relationship with your children. Passing on your anger, sadness, or cynicism leads to loyalty conflicts. Your children could refuse to spend time with you, or, in the worst scenario, you may lose custody.
“Parenting alienation” is a widely recognized problem, and any parent who does this can be denied contact with their children. Demonising your ex-spouse before your children harms them in their developing years and well into adulthood. It can cause feelings of shame and guilt, which results in self-hatred and low self-esteem. Some may even resort to illegal activities.
Divorce makes it more important to emphasize that they need both parents. It’s integral to their mental and emotional growth to know that you can cooperate with your ex, and there’s no need for them to choose sides.
Putting Them First
The healing process is a long and tiresome road. Parenting in the face of divorce makes it more difficult, but it’s your job to put your children first. You won’t regret it once you see that you’ve raised them into mentally and emotionally healthy adults despite what you’ve been through.