As parents, we are all more than aware that how we are feeling can affect the whole mood of the household.
If we are tired or stressed, our patience can be shorter with those around us.
Never more are our relationships tested than when children arrive on the scene. Suddenly the romantic couplings, date nights and weekends away dwindle, and life revolves around the little people in our lives. It’s easy to forget that we loved our partners first.
Splits are on the up
Nobody wants to face the reality, but it’s a well known fact that over 50% of marriages are now ending in a split. It’s very rare indeed to ‘grow old together’ as so many fairy tales suggest is the best kind of life.
It’s actually become quite common for couples to want to go their separate ways in life rather than stick it out through to the end. As much as this really upsets us, we’ve probably all seen from friends or family that it happens more often than we think, and often in couples that you least expected it.
Sadly, this is real life. Stresses and strains of modern life show us that we are not prince charming and the beautiful princess living happily ever after without issue. Marriages go though stages where they are pushed to the limits, and often they can be resolved. If there is one too many however, it’s common to end in divorce.
The impact on kids
Despite even the best effort of a parent, a separation will impact children who are part of the marriage.
Perhaps they overhear arguments, or pick up on remarks that are not the kindest in tone. Whatever is happening between parents, limiting the impact on the lives of the children should be the biggest priority.
Getting this right is difficult, but a smooth transition is how you can truly help your kids to deal with the changes and get used to the new circumstances. In fact, a few key things as part of the coping strategy could actually help to form even stronger bonds with children after a split.
Don’t linger longer
Uncertainty is what gives children the most angst during a break up of their parents.
It’s quite common for children to be distracted at school, daydream about their worries and even lose their appetites during the day. They will stop playing with their friends and often be worried about their future.
To make things simple and methodical, it is best to get the legal ball rolling as quickly as possible. This stops both parents and the children from lingering in limbo, not knowing how things are going to be like in the near future.
The key is to find a decent legal firm that specialises in this area of the law. Expert divorce solicitors will begin to look at wealth protection as a priority, and also handle custody cases and work out which parent will be getting what percentage of the custody share. With this information parents can then start to tell the children the set up, which parent will be seeing them on what days of the week, and how much time they will have with each other after the split.
Use time more wisely
By no means is it uncommon for parents to feel as if they should have spent more valuable time with their children when they had the chance. This kind of thinking isn’t helpful.
A separated parent will still have plenty of time to be a part of their growing up into adulthood. In fact, knowing that the time together may be less can force the mind into spending what time they have wisely; or at least that should now be the aim.
Ideas for how to maximise time spent with the children
Some ideas include:
- Take up a hobby with the children, or take more interest in one they like e.g. join in a game they like to play
- Take them to swimming classes
- Becoming more involved in their learning
- Take them fishing to teach them how to catch their own fish and chat about life responsibilities
- Take them to see things they are interested in, such as music concerts, art galleries and theatre performances
There will still be so much time to do all these things, so parents shouldn’t fret about the split and shared custody.
Making school normal
There are plenty of staff at school that can help children with stress from home problems, but the goal is to prevent it from happening.
Despite moving to a new house or having a longer journey to school, making school life as normal as possible is the first step.
Getting them used to waking up earlier than at their old home and helping them to get dressed can take some of the stress away, and provide another opportunity to chat about any worried they might have.
Many children will hide the fact that their parents are going through a divorce as this can sometimes lead to the other children using it against them to be bullies.
If anything like this becomes evident, parents should inform any relevant staff at the school that the family is going through a divorce. This will allow them to make life less stressful for the child wherever possible. Schools might also be able to offer counselling services at the school itself.
When it comes to special events such as school plays or parent and teacher day both parents should attend. By arriving and leaving together, events can seem as normal as possible for the kids. It will also allow both parents to understand the situation of their children better and agree on plans that could improve shortcomings.
Don’t argue in front of them
For any couple going through a divorce, some things just have to be said and talked about, and often this will happen around the children.
The most important thing to do however is not to use raised voices or have arguments in front of the children. Memories of parents fighting can stick for a long time, and this could spill over into their own parenting styles if they go on to have children.
Having discussions in a different room or alone prevents children from having to witness parents fighting when they come home from school.
All in all, parents going through a separation must remember that they will still have time to raise their children and play a huge role in their upbringing. Using the shared time more effectively can help the child to get used to the new normal and really make the best of the situation before they return to their other parent.