Life can get very confusing and complicated for children of divorce. Even in the best of situations, children can often feel like mere assets to be divided by their parents like furniture or cars. Regardless of how you feel about your ex during and after the divorce, it is extremely important that your children’s comfort and well-being are not overlooked.
Many divorced parents end up sharing custody of their children. Custody and visitation arrangements obviously differ and many provide for the child to spend more time with one parent than the other. However, every effort should be made to make sure that children of divorce do not feel like visitors in either parent’s home. Adapting to a new situation can be difficult at first, but with a little planning and a lot of love, your children can quickly feel at home with either parent.
Get Your Child Involved
It can be very beneficial for your child to have some input regarding a new living arrangement. Simply allowing your child to help pick out new curtains or arrange furniture in their room can create a sense of ownership. If she has a favorite stuffed animal or likes a special blanket, she should be encouraged to bring it with her whenever possible. Comfort items also quickly establish a sense of familiarity, which can ease the transition from one house to the other.
Make Your Home Your Child’s Home
Of course children may have a sentimental attachment to certain, one-of-a-kind items, but for almost everything else, it is easy to be prepared. Have a toothbrush, clothes, pajamas and toys at your house ready for your child. Being surrounded by their own things can help prevent your child from feeling like an outsider. For special occasions, like family events or the school play, plan ahead of time so that outfits, shoes, or any other needed accessories are where they need to be.
Communicate and Cooperate
Children quickly learn that Mom and Dad parent differently, and for children of divorce this is all the more apparent now that they are in separate homes. While you and your ex do not have to agree on every single rule, it is important to establish a few ground rules that your children are expected to follow in both homes. Homework rules and bedtime, for example, should remain consistent, while other rules, such as TV or internet time, may be a bit more flexible.
If concerns arise about behavior or schoolwork, it is extremely important for both parents to be able to communicate. Although open communication may be difficult, it is necessary to cooperative parenting. In addition, it can help demonstrate to your child that his or her well-being is a priority.
If you considering a divorce or have concerns about a child custody order, contact an experienced DuPage County family law attorney. We will answer your questions and provide the assistance you need to best provide for your family.