When going through a divorce, it is natural to focus on what is going to change. If you favor the divorce, you can dream about the positive changes it will bring to your life. Soon I will be able to stretch out across the bed. Soon I will be able to move closer to my family.
If it is your spouse’s decision to separate and you would rather stay married, you might end up thinking about how changes will be negative. Now I will have to cook for myself. Now, I will have to work more hours to pay the bills.
When you talk to your children about the divorce, it is therefore easy to focus on what will change. Yet your kids would probably prefer most things to stay the same.
What will stay the same after divorce?
Your kids know that some things will have to change, so by bringing their attention to what will not, you can help them see that life will go on, and your divorce is not the end of the world as they know it. Here are some things to emphasize:
- They still have two parents who love them: Ensuring they continue to spend time with both parents should be a key custody goal.
- They will still see their extended family: Divorce can lead to issues with the in-laws. If that happens, remember that they are still a part of your child’s family, even if you are no longer part of theirs.
- They will still see their friends: If you need to move, look for ways they can still keep in touch. Teenagers especially may need their friends to confide in.
- They will still go to the same school: Kids spend a large chunk of their time at school, so if you keep that the same, it helps. Entering a new school may be too much of a challenge right now.
- Maintain family routines: Feeding the ducks in the park on the weekend or baking a cake on Wednesdays may seem inconsequential to you but may mean a lot to your child.
Divorce will challenge your kids, but an effective custody agreement will minimize the disruption it causes them.