When you first spoke with your children regarding your plans to divorce, they may have expressed sadness, confusion, worry or anger. Then again, if they were already aware that you and your spouse have had marital problems for a long time, your news may not have come as a big surprise. Even if they logically assumed you might divorce at some point, they will still need your support to come to terms with the situation and adapt to a new family lifestyle.
The good news is that divorce does not necessarily have to ruin your children's lives. As many South Carolina parents have done in the past, you can be proactive in reaching out to your kids to help them cope with your current situation in a healthy, productive manner. Contention between parents often causes stress for children, so it's also a good idea to have a plan in mind ahead of time for where to seek support if a problem arises that seems impossible to resolve without outside assistance.
Tips to help your children deal with their emotions
No two children come to terms with divorce in exactly the same way. Some grow quieter and tend to isolate themselves from family and friends while others are more outspoken and able to freely express their thoughts. As a loving parent, you can help your kids by implementing some of the following ideas:
- Encourage them to write down their thoughts in journals, or to express their feelings through artwork or some other type of creative medium. Children often feel better after using writing or creative art forms as releases for their emotions.
- You and your former spouse may disagree about certain aspects of your new parenting plan. That's not uncommon in divorce. Keeping your children's best interests in mind, it's best if you keep such disagreements private.
- If your spouse is a no-show for a scheduled visit, your kids may turn to you in their disappointment. There is no need to sweep such matters under the rug; in fact, it's typically best to support your children by allowing them to share their feelings and by taking steps to rectify such situations.
- If your former spouse is ignoring an existing court order, you can seek assistance to bring the matter to the court's immediate attention.
- Children thrive on routine, so the less you change about your kids' daily lives, the better it may be in the long run as they get used to living with one parent at a time.
Your parenting plan is highly customizable. You can include any topic or details that you believe are of paramount importance to your children's well-being. You can even design your own parenting plan. If you do so, you will still need to seek the court's approval. The bottom line is that there are often many options and resources available to help you support your children as they adapt to life after your divorce.