Helping Your Children Regain Independence After Divorce

Children After DivorceWhen you’re divorcing your partner, it’s important to remember your children are affected by the changes too. You might be losing your partner, dependent and confidant, your children are losing one of their parents (at least in the same household). While giving your children the proper time to grieve is critical to their adapting to upcoming changes – it’s also important to give them the tools they need to regain their independence and adjust to the new family atmosphere.

Building Rules Slowly

Much like your new household feels foreign to you, your kids are learning how the new unit is going to function – whether that means new homes, visits and adapting under changing schedules. It’s important to re-establish rules they’ll need to follow, but make sure that everyone is on the same page with a family meeting. If your children are older, ask them how they’d like to be more independent; does this mean they’d like to find a part-time job? Maybe they’ll find their own way to the other parent’s house?

Forgive Children for Shortcomings

Did your child forget to empty the dishwasher again? Don’t hold it against them – especially during the first year of the change. Many times trying to remember two sets of rules can be emotionally and mentally exhausting for a child; take the steps to build success instead of breaking a child down for not remembering. Start with a master list of the rules and stick them somewhere the child is more likely to see them. To get into the routine, ask your child to check the list and see what needs to be done. It’s important that you not treat your child like a co-partner and implement age appropriate chores or rules.

Set Realistic Expectations for Yourself Too

You are only one person and remembering that is crucial. While you might have accomplished more in the past with your ex in the household, holding yourself to the same standard isn’t going to amount to more than a massive headache. Take the time you need to finish projects and don’t beat yourself up over unfinished tasks. Learning to adapt to a one-parent mentality (whether that’s meals or bedtime routine) can be difficult, but it will get easier with time. Keep a positive mentality on the items you have completed – instead of dwelling on the items you haven’t finished yet.