When a divorce has been finalized, many people expect to experience a major sense of relief and even happiness. While this can occur sometimes, it is quite common for newly divorced parents to be left with more questions than answers. The most important question is how to help yourself heal, while providing the children with the love and support they need from you. The following five tips on parenting after a divorce can be a great starting point to begin your post-divorce journey.
Everything is changing. How do I deal with it as a family?
A divorce will impact just about every area of your life and the lives of your kids. While it is good to try to maintain as much stability as possible, it is unhealthy to try to deny the fact that many things are going to be different going forward. Celebrating the things that can remain the same (or at least similar), and adjusting to the things that are changing together will help your family to adjust successfully. Always encourage your kids to talk about it with you (and a counselor if possible) so you can make changes based on the needs of everyone involved.
How do I handle holidays & other family traditions?
Few things will be more difficult for a newly divorced parent than going through important holidays and other family traditions. From the beginning, it is necessary to accept the fact that many of these traditions are going to have to change and adapt. Finding new things that fit into your new family situation can help children to adapt and grow over time. For example, you can try and make new traditions with just you and the children; something that will reach them on an emotional level to reassure them change isn’t always bad.
My heart is broken. How can I heal while still putting my children first?
While many parents don’t like to admit it, the fact is that the months immediately following a divorce can be truly heart-wrenching. One day you may feel fine, and the next it is all you can do to keep from constantly crying. Accepting that this is normal, and finding trusted friends, family members, or therapists who you can talk to can be very helpful in getting through this painful transitional period. You have to start helping yourself before you can really start being there for other people.
I despise my ex. How will this impact the kids?
This is perhaps the biggest (yet least talked about) question that newly divorced parents will have. In almost all cases, divorce will leave at least some negative feelings about your ex. While this is certainly normal, it is never acceptable to push those feelings on your children. Your job, however difficult, is to try to encourage a healthy relationship between your children and your ex (unless there is abuse or some other reason why this is not possible). Feel free to talk bad about your ex to friends and family (as long as the kids aren’t around to hear) but never say a bad word in front of the children or while they’re nearby. As the saying goes, little pitchers have big ears and I’m constantly amazed at what my children overhear when I think they’re not nearby or paying attention.
Will things ever get back to normal?
Yes and no. Things won’t go back to the “normal” that you are used to from before the divorce, so as hard as that can be, the first step to healing is accepting the situation. You will, however, find that you and your children adapt to a “new normal” that can be just as good, if not better, than what you remember in the past. This process will take time, but with time and effort, things will settle into a wonderful routine.
We understand that this is a very difficult situation for you. At the end of the day, only you know how you can best help yourself heal. At the Vasquez de Lara Law Group, we pride ourselves on our connection with our clients. We can help you with your Florida family law and estate planning matters in your time of need. Call us today!