Your divorce is between yourself, your spouse and your local Texas family court. But it affects many more people: your relatives, friends — and most of all your children. Of course, your kids’ lives will change profoundly because of the divorce. They will no longer live in the same home as both their parents and might shuttle between two homes from now on. They have to come to terms with the fact that their parents no longer want to be married. It can seem like their whole world is turned upside down.
Five ways to make divorce easier on your children in Austin
You probably cannot stop your kids from feeling traumatized by the divorce, but you can take steps to ease the process and ensure they adjust to the new arrangement as smoothly as possible.
- If possible, you and your spouse should commit to keeping the lines of communication open regarding the kids. Not only will open, honest and well-intentioned communication allow you to continue co-parenting more effectively, it also shows your children that despite living apart, you and your ex are still working together to raise them and stay in their lives during and after the divorce proceedings.
- When communicating with your ex, try to keep your words respectful and businesslike, especially when the kids are around.
- Develop a written parenting plan that includes important decisions on how to raise the children and a fair and effective method for resolving conflicts. This can help reduce tension and fights over the children, which can help keep the kids feeling caught in the middle.
- Keep things as consistent as possible between the two homes. Work with your ex to maintain the same schedules, routines and rules whether the kids are staying at your ex’s home or yours.
- Be there for your kids emotionally. Give them opportunities to express their feelings about the divorce, even when they seem “fine” from the outside. Listen and validate their feelings instead of trying to change them. Consider therapy if they are still struggling to adjust after a few months.
Most of all, make your children’s best interests your top priority. This can mean compromising on custody and other things if it means the children will thrive. This can be difficult at times. But if you and your ex can keep this attitude, your children should have a much easier time adapting.