What Kids Wish You Knew About Maintaining Continuity
Just as parents are often afraid they will lose their children to the other parent, kids are afraid they will lose one or both parents. Many kids have friends who were abandoned by a parent after divorce. You can address this fear by assuring them that even though you are divorcing, both parents will always be there for the child. Keep your word on this. Having a child is a lifelong commitment.“Your kids are hurting more than they let on. They are not telling you everything because they do not want you to feel bad.”“When my mom had a new baby, I was afraid my step-dad wouldn’t love me anymore because now he had his own kid.”“I was afraid one parent would think I was too much trouble and just tell the other parent he/she could just keep me.”
Some parents are so angry that they try to punish their ex-partner by blocking contact with the children. Unless the other parent is abusive or neglectful, the daggers being thrown at the other parent are going through the children. A regular schedule or the ability to call the other parent also helps with knowing both parents will be there for the child.
“Try not to be mad at each other. Do not fight in front of us; that is the worst. Do not talk bad about the other parent. I love both of my parents. It makes me feel bad to hear someone talk bad about them, especially the other parent.”
“Do not try and buy your kid. It makes the other parent look bad. It causes more conflict and it makes kids materialistic. Some of my friends’ parents do this and it is just not good. I am glad my parents did not do this. I feel lucky for that.”
This book is one of the best resources for co-parenting.
Step-Parents and Dating Parents
“Consider our feelings and give us some time to get used to a new person.”
“I hated seeing a new woman in my house doing things my mom used to do.”
“Do not push a new person on your kids. In time they will probably warm up to the new person. I did.”
“If kids have a concern about a step-parent, listen to them; do not brush their concern away. They may see something you do not because you are in love.”
Most Important Thing for Divorced Parents to Know
Several kids stressed this idea as the most important thing that they wanted their parents to know: Kids will be OK after a divorce. It is incredibly hard, but they will be OK. They may even discover a thing or two they like.
“I thought it was the end of the world, but it turned out for the better. My parents are so much happier and that is better for me.”
“I thought it would be worse, but my life got better when my parents divorced. I had two happy homes instead of one unhappy one.”
“I like that I get to celebrate birthdays and holidays twice.”
No one grows up planning to get divorced or marries thinking, “Oh, if this does not work out I will just get divorced.” The most common thing I hear when people are in the process of divorce is, “I never thought it would happen to me.” Divorce is incredibly painful even in the best of situations. It destroys the world as both adults and kids know it. But there will be a new day. We do heal and life can be even better than before.
For more information get tips to Co-Parenting Peacefully, You Can’t Live Together.
If you are raising a two-home kid, ask them what advice would they give to other parents who are divorcing? Did you hear something you did not know in the kid’s advice?
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