Going through a divorce can be disruptive for a family. After you break up with your children’s other parent, many things will change. Especially if you’ve been living together as a family, a breakup can be upsetting, expensive and disruptive.
It’s important to realize that having kids together means you will continue to co-parent, although the relationship will be different. You are still a family; just structured differently. As you move forward, deciding what the parenting plan will look like and providing ongoing support during these should be the priority.
Work with your ex to create a parenting plan that minimizes the stress and disruption on your children while satisfying both parents. Experienced North Carolina attorneys can help identify options and develop agreements. You don’t have to do this alone. There are many ways to divide parenting responsibilities that could work for both you and your ex.
In the meantime, maintain existing routines and schedules as much as possible. Once one parent moves out, explain the breakup to your children in an age-appropriate way. Assure them that while mom and dad will live apart, they are loved and it’s not their fault.
Parenting Includes Maintaining Honest Communication with Your Children
After you have told your children about the breakup, observe their reactions closely as they process the changes. They may withdraw or become depressed – or they may become hyper-social. They may have lots of questions, or they may become silent on the subject. Your response will depend on how they react.
That said, there are some things most parents should probably do. Here are some useful tips inspired by this article in Psychology Today:
- Affirm everyone’s negative feelings, including your own. Don’t try to force positivity on your kids. They need to navigate complex feelings, some of which will be negative. They need to know it’s OK to have negative feelings.
- Reassure your kids that you will get through these changes together and things will settle down. Any degree of change can be difficult and kids don’t have the experience yet to know that they will get through it. Things won’t always be this hard. Together, you’ll find a new normal that will be comfortable and satisfying.
- Practice gratitude. Even when you’re having trouble seeing the positive, try to list a few things to be grateful for. Your kids still have two parents who love them. You have a roof over your head and food on the table.
Most importantly, never talk negatively about your ex to your kids. While you should maintain an honest and supportive relationship with your kids, do not share complaints about your ex. This could force your kids into the position of having to mediate – or worse, it could make them feel like they have to choose sides.
With legal guidance from an experienced attorney, you can create a timesharing parenting plan that reduces disruption while satisfying both parents. Maintain honest communication while reshaping your family’s structure after this difficult transition.