As a loving parent who is trying your best to build a successful, happy life for your children in Pennsylvania, you no doubt participate in many activities together designed to help you strengthen your bond and build lasting memories. When you told your kids you were getting divorced, you may have also assured them of your support as they (like you) adapt to new lifestyles. After hearing some of your friends share stories of problems their kids encountered in divorce, you worried what the future might have in store.
It can definitely be said that helping kids through divorce is no small matter; however, just because your lives are changing doesn't necessarily mean you are permanently damaging your children. In fact, some parents say their relationships with their kids improve following divorce. If you approach the situation with an understanding heart and willingness to seek your children's best interests in all things, you'll likely be able to overcome any problems that arise. Yet, it's also good to know where to turn for outside support if needed.
Practical ideas to set your kids up for success
No two divorces are exactly the same; the same goes for children within a family. What works best to help one of your children during your divorce may not be a good idea for another son or daughter. The following information contains general tips that may be useful to you as you help your children settle into a post-divorce lifestyle:
- Make sure they know it's not their fault: You may be surprised how many kids blame themselves for their parents' divorces. Rather than assume your children understand your marital split has nothing to do with them, it's often better if you tell them they did not cause your marital problems or divorce.
- Tell them you love them: Just as you don't want to assume that your kids know you don't blame them for your divorce, you also don't want to take for granted that they know you love them. Letting them hear it straight from you is always the best choice. This type of reassurance gives kids the tools they need to deal with the many emotions they may experience when their parents are no longer married.
- Don't make your problems their problems: While there's something to be said for allowing children to witness adult disagreements for the purpose of teaching them that no relationship is perfect and most adults can work together to overcome their problems, your kids will likely stand a far better chance of coming to terms with your divorce if you put forth every effort to amicably communicate with their other parent and avoid arguing with your former spouse in front of them.
- Maintain a sense of normalcy: Studies show children of divorce fare best when their parents help them maintain structure and routine in their daily lives. Too much shuttling back and forth or hesitance to develop rules or guidelines for fear of rejection may backfire big time. The less changes they have to go through in their daily routines, the better.
It's one thing if both parents are on board and willing to cooperate and compromise for the sakes of their children in divorce and quite another if you are trying your best to help them but your former spouse is impeding your ability by disobeying existing court orders or otherwise obstructing your parenting plan.
Help is available
In addition to local support groups that exist in your area, you may want to reach out for support to address any legal problems that arise.
Many Pennsylvania parents have successfully rectified post-divorce parenting disputes by relying on experienced family law attorneys to seek the court's intervention.