One of the toughest challenges divorcing couples face is how to raise happy children.
The effects of seeing their parents go separate ways can be challenging on some kids. Emotional trauma leaves them in fear that their one remaining parent is going to leave them, too. According to two separate studies, 20% of kids whose parents divorced don’t fare well when it comes to school, health, and social settings.
The Good News
No matter how dire the current situation is, there is a silver lining to divorce and its effect on children. The same studies concluded that 80% of kids who go through a divorce adapt well, and have no lasting adverse effects later on in life. The caveat? Kids do well when both parents are stable and get along with each other.
Is this scenario even possible when you and your ex don’t live in the same roof anymore? Indeed, it is. There is a way for both parents to remain a positive and influential force in their children’s lives, and it’s called co-parenting.
What is Co-parenting?
Co-parenting is a process where two divorced parents work together to raise a child. It doesn’t matter if the parents don’t live under the same roof anymore as they both share physical and legal custody of their kids. In an effective co-parenting situation, both parents understand the need to be an active participant in the life of their child.
Co-parenting has a positive impact on both kids and parents for a variety of reasons:
- Children will still have both parents looking after them, providing guidance, love, and support.
- Children thrive when they have good relationships with both parents.
- Couples can share parenting duties on a set and sometimes flexible schedule.
- Dads who share a close bond with their children are more likely to pay child support.
Tips on Raising Happy Children
If you’re going to be raising kids after a divorce, these tips can help make the situation a little easier.
Talk it Over as a Family.
If your children are old enough to remember, have the initial conversation as a group. Kids tend to remember shocking moments in their lives, and their parents getting divorced takes the cake. Sit your kids down, and with your spouse, break the news slowly and with care. Try to do this a few days before someone moves out of the house because a disappearing parent can be traumatizing, especially for small children.
Always Stick to a Schedule.
Kids feel more in control when they depend on routines and follow a set schedule. Also, try and let your child see as much of the other side of the family, too. Relationships with grandparents are priceless.
Make the Hand-off as Peaceful as Possible.
The most stressful moment for a child is when parents do the “exchange.” Your child already feels the tension between the two of you, and it hurts. Don’t add to the fire by asking about support payments, rules, and eating healthy food.
Go Easy on the Rules.
Accept that two houses mean two sets of rules. You can’t force your ex to follow the same set of rules that you do, and you both don’t have control over what happens when the kids are in the other home. Unless it’s a safety issue, worry about your own rules.
Avoid Saying Anything Negative About Your Ex.
Remember, your ex-spouse also means the world to your children, just like you. Kids are amazing at picking up on things, and bad-mouthing your ex paints you as the villain.
Finally, you have to recognize that divorce puts your child at risk. Depression, anxiety, and learning disorders are only a few of the problems kids from divorced parents face. To counter this, both parents need to be active in the child’s life, offering support and love that only parents can do.
Emily Andrews is the marketing communications specialist at RecordsFinder, an online public records search company. Communications specialist by day and community volunteer at night, she believes in compassion