Many of our readers are divorced or going through a divorce and one of the biggest concerns is their children. We all want our kids cope with the changes involved in divorce. Divorce is so painful for everyone involved. Here are 7 tips from DK Simoneau, speaker and author of the book We're Having a Tuesday
- Don't talk down about the child's other parent, no matter how frustrated or angry you become. Talking down about a child's parent is like talking down about part of your own child.
- Establish a special routine during transition periods. Kids thrive on routine and if they know exactly what to expect when they return to you it will make the transition easier.
- Allow your child to have a transition object. If your child needs a blanket or teddy bear, let them. If the child is older and maybe doesn't want to carry an item that large, help them make one. Maybe pick out some rocks that represent each parent. Have fun designing them so they know which rock belongs to whom.
- Call your child every day. You would be surprised at how much hearing your voice and knowing that you are thinking about them means to them, even if they don't say much in return.
- Be understanding of their missing things from their other home, including the other parent. All of those things are very real to your child and not having them when they want them can be very frustrating.
- Work with the other parent to establish a few basic routines that are at both houses. For example, at both houses bedtimes should be very similar. Sitting at the dinner table may be something to be encouraged at both houses. Television viewing or video game playing habits could be similar in both homes.
- Develop firm procedures and rules about what is acceptable about forgetting things at the other parent's house. Are you going to ground your child because he forgot his teddy bear? Will you be driving over to your ex's house to get it at 9:00 at night because your 4 year-old just can't sleep without it? Are you willing to let your child get a failing grade because your ex doesn't follow a checklist and make sure your 5th grader had packed her month-long book report assignment? Make procedures and follow through.
Maintaining a cordial parenting relationship will heal the wounds of divorce and make sure to allow free expression of angry and sad feelings.