As many divorced Texas parents can tell you, coming to an agreement on a child custody arrangement is often only half the battle. Afterwards, many times the children are confused about where they stand with the parents, and they can often feel insecure about their place in the world. Fortunately for parents with child custody, there are some things that they can keep in mind as they help adjust their children to this often difficult time.
Make sure your child knows that you can still care for him or her. After divorce, finances might be tight. For this reason, you might tell your child that you cannot afford an item, such as a toy, that he or she may want. While you may treat these remarks as innocuous, many times children of divorced parents worry that their parents do not have enough money to take care of their most basic needs. Some say that a way reassure your child is to keep the cupboards and refrigerator stocked.
Additionally, it can be common for children to feel as though they have to “grow up” after their parents divorce. This may mean they start helping out around the house more, so be careful of criticizing them if, for example, they misplace something while cleaning up. The author of a parenting book explains that it’s not necessary to rush your child into being an adult. Let them hold onto what makes them feel secure and comfortable. For example, taking away a favorite toy or blanket can often cause a heightened anxiety in an already tumultuous period for the child.
Divorce can be a difficult process for both children and their parents. With a totally new way of life and maybe a new home, things can feel very uncertain. However, by staying connected with your children through the process you may be able to help each other through it.
Source: The Florida Times-Union, “Four key points for children of divorce,” Jeanne L. Ward, June 18, 2012