Divorce is an end of a marriage, but parents can never cease being parents, nor can their children.
Since family is so much more than just a group of individuals it definitely doesn’t end with a divorce.
We might say it enters a new phase in development. Depending on the changing family dynamics, its members and their actions, the growth and the future of said family depend. Although the parents are the ones getting a divorce from their matrimonial relationship, children are affected, nonetheless.
However, children can grow up to be happy personas even if their parents got a divorce. It all depends on how the parents handle the divorce situation and the changed family dynamics. To bring up happy individuals, it is important to establish new family dynamics that will support that.
Family dynamics will change after the divorce, but this is not necessarily an undesirable thing. If the parents were unhappy, lived in a loveless marriage and fought a lot, children can view divorce as a resolution of the situation. In that case, divorce can be an opportunity for the parents to communicate more effectively and establish healthier family dynamics.
Show support and comfort
Parents should remain available for their children after the divorce even if for 15 minutes a day.
Find time in your demanding schedule that you will dedicate to each of the children one on one.
They need to feel they are still important to you, that you love them and that they have your support.
Since your relationship with your partner has been broken apart, the children require behavioral assurance this will not happen to your relationship with them.
Talk to your children and really listen. Show empathy and make them feel heard. Even if you can’t solve the problem right away, they feel better knowing you are there for them. Even if you disagree with them, allow them to speak up about the situation.
You don’t need to agree with them to make them feel heard. On the other hand, if you recognize yourself wanting to vent to them about divorce, stop and call a friend. Children should not be placed in the position of the parent’s coach having to listen to the destructive things about the other parent. This can seriously hamper the prospects of building healthy family dynamics.
Practice what you preach is always an excellent idea when it comes to raising children.
Children model their behavior according to our behavior much more than according to our words.
During and after a divorce this becomes even more significant. Even though partners are no longer married to each other, they are eternally parents to their children. Therefore, both should put in the effort to do no badmouthing and keep the fight to a minimum. This can come as quite a difficult task as emotions are high and so is the tension. If you can’t communicate in a civilized manner with your ex, at least do it outside of the eyesight of the children.
Establishing a polite communication with the ex can help the children adjust to a new normal easier. It will demonstrate that even though parents are no longer partners, the concept of the family hasn’t broken apart completely. Additionally, it can lessen much of their fear of losing one or the other while cementing healthy family dynamics.
Time together is beneficial
Being able to communicate in a civil manner can support conversations and the notion of spending time together with the children.
Talking about the changes that will happen, such as living and schooling arrangements, with everyone in the room can be very important for the children and key to building healthy family dynamics. This will give them an opportunity to express their opinions and feel heard.
Being together might be hard in the very beginning and if it causes too many fights it should be avoided. However, an attempt to invest time with children and both parents present should be made later on when the heat goes down. Start with brief events such as coming to a school play or sports event in which your child is participating.
No matter how small the steps are, as long as you are producing them, eventually you will get there.
After divorce partners should create a co-parenting agreement that will help guide arrangements about the kids. Both should stick to the agreement once it is made. Not honoring it can cause conflict between parents and affect the relationship with children.
They will respect their parents for doing something they agreed too, especially when it is for their good. The creation of the agreement should not be done hastily.
One of the fatal mistakes is not taking the time to think things through before making and signing the co-parenting agreement. It is going to guide future co-parenting actions for a long time.
Make sure you are okay with all the points in the agreement before signing it as it will influence family dynamics greatly. Talk to your friends, family or a lawyer if you find you are feeling emotional and can’t approach it with the perspective you want.
After the divorce, a child may start acting differently than usual due to many changes happening. They may act out by disobeying rules they followed so far, talking back, going out or failing at school. This should be addressed by both parents as it is a response to the recent situation they both were a part of.
This kind of behavior is not necessarily a new normal, but rather a short-term expression due to changes in family dynamics.
These inappropriate or unrestrained actions can help the child acquire the attention they feel they lost from the parents or deal with unexpressed emotions.
In order to help the child praise the appropriate behavior, show love, and support, and be consistent.
The new normal
A family is forever, even though the family is not living together anymore and the parents are not partners. This is how children can think about it and therefore they expect both of their parents to be present in their lives.
The establishment of the new family dynamics can be challenging, but it is crucial for the children’s sake.
The family provides children direction about their behavior in social situations, personal beliefs and helps them develop relationships.
Therefore, the environment for this should be encouraging even after a divorce happens. The way they see themselves, others and the world is under the strong influence of the relationship they have within the family.
Take time to figure out how to make the situation for yourself and your children the best possible, despite the circumstances.
Want to have a happier, healthier marriage?
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.