Read these 25 Divorce Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Single Parent tips and hundreds of other topics.
Give yourself time to grieve over the loss of your marriage partner. It is a death of a relationship and should be treated as such. Do not jump out there and make rash decisions or rush into another relationship until you have had time to heal. Move on and forward, just don't move too quickly. Rid yourself of the emotions of one relationship before you go looking for another one.
Tip from Shellee Darnell in article entitled Single Parents Raise Good Kids Too! Nurturing is a high priority, but children also crave stability and security. While this is important for all children, it is especially crucial for children who have suffered a loss of stability due to divorce or death of a parent. Children need to feel secure and protected, and it is our job as parents to create a nurturing environment where they can thrive. Your children need to hear how much you love them and how proud you are. Some children may require more affection and attention than others, so know your child, and take your cue from him/her.”
To begin to feel emotionally secure and in charge means to end the fighting. Most people fight over the assets only to end up losing them to attorney's fees. If you are engaged in battle, ask yourself how what you are fighting for balances with your emotional well being. You can not start a new life until you end the old one.
What divorced parent does not deal with power games? The realization is, however, you do not have to play the game. You are responsible for your own actions, not the other person's. Try to develop as harmonious a relationship as possible with your ex. Don't put your kids in the middle of a tug-of-war. Everyone loses, especially the kids. Since nobody wins, refuse to play.
Don't give in to your child's every whim. Single parents oftentimes are guilty of giving that extra toy or candy bar as a means of trying to replace the love of a missing parent. Unfortunately the end result is spoiling their kids in the process. This leads to needless time consuming battles over control. (If you loved me, you would buy this for me, OR buy this and I won't throw a fit here in the store!) You can't equate love with material things, so don't confuse your children by putting them on the same level. You are their parent, you love them dearly, and love them enough to say no. End of discussion.
Rejection--a term that anyone who has been through a divorce knows and understands well. But you need to realize, you are not the only one who is feeling rejected. Your children also feel rejected by their parent who has abandoned them for whatever reason. Many times children feel like it was their fault. It is important to talk with your children and help them understand how very much you love them and that you will always be there for them.
If your son questions why he sees other children with fathers while his is not around, it might help to explain that all families are different. Some have two parents and some have one, and some have two children and some have only one. He might understand better if he acknowledges that there are families out there just like his.
Children have a natural tendency to blame themselves when their parents get a divorce. Reassure your child that the problem is between you and the other parent, not with them. They have done nothing wrong and are not to blame. Just because one parent will no longer be in the home doesn't mean you are no longer a family. Assure them of your love and that you are not going to leave too, which is another fear the child may experience. Provide as much love and stability and reassurance as you can. Listen to your child and deal lovingly with any concerns they may have regarding how this will affect their future.
If your child begins to act out during or after the divorce, do not assume that it is the other parent's fault. Ask your child why they are unhappy and do it in a manner that does not give them the answer you want to hear. For example, do not say, "Are you doing badly in school because you do not like to visit dad?" Instead say, "Why do you feel you have not been doing well in school? Let's see what we can do to improve your school work." This leaves dad or mom out and allows the child to state what he or she really feels. Children wish to please adults and often they will answer what they think you want to hear, not what they are feeling.
Provide a stable environment for your children. Let's face it, not only has your world been turned upside down, but also your children's. Step back and realize your children are looking up to you to lead them down the scary road ahead. One of the most important things you can give them is stability. Try to keep as many routines in your daily life as possible. If you're moving to a new environment, try to arrange the furniture in their room similar to the room they just left. If they are used to making weekly trips to the park or grandma's, continue those trips when possible. The less disruption to their lives, the more settled they will be.
When your spouse leaves, it is painful. Often the person who is left feels as though their life has been destroyed. They can not understand why this has happened, why they have stopped loving them. You may feel helpless, lost and desperately want them to return. The reality often is that the marriage has not worked for a long time. All the signs were there but you could not cope with the thought of breaking up the family. You may feel betrayed. You are starting the mourning period. It is similar to losing someone to a heart attack, it seems quick and without warning. You knew something was wrong but you thought it would go away as it has so many other times, but this time they are not coming home. Often the spouse who leaves will be cold and distant, they need to be because this is something they have been working towards for a long time. Turn to your friends or a support group for comfort. Those who are left and those who leave can not share this time, and it will only hurt you further if you seek comfort or understanding from the person who left.
It is quite common these days for divorcing parents to receive joint physical custody. While joint custody can be good for maintaining contact with your child, it can create a whole new set of problems than if only one parent had custody with the other parent awarded visitation rights. Shuttling children between two households continually can create anxiety and insecurity in children. Make sure you make the needs of your child your priority, not your own desires, or your need to get back at the other parent. What is best for your child?
Your children will also go through a period of grieving as part of the divorce process. Your child no longer has two parents in the home, but one. In some ways divorce is harder for a child to deal with than the death of a parent. Help your children see the benefits from the new situation (more peace and less conflict, opportunities to make new friends, new quality time with the other parent that may not have been present before, etc.) Time does heal all wounds, so give your kids time to heal.
Joint physical custody is where the child spends part of each week with each parent, continually shuttling back forth between two households. Joint legal custody allows both parents to make decisions affecting a child's life, but the child physically lives with one parent, and visits with the other.
Children should be taught to love and respect both of their parents, regardless of whether or not one is worthy of it. A child should not be put in the middle of having to choose between two parents. A child should love you both, not just the one most deserving (in our eyes anyway). Assure your child that you both love him/her and that will never change. Keep your children out of your domestic squabbles.
In many ways divorce is like death. It is the ending of family life as your children know it. The child no longer has two parents in the home, but one. In some ways divorce is harder for a child to deal with than the death of a parent. This is especially true if the parents engage in power wars and struggles, in which case your child gets caught in the middle. They end up being torn between the two of you, each one trying to outdo the other, leaving the child confused and distressed about life. For the sake of your grieving child, eliminate the power wars please.
In planning activities for your children, don't try to outdo or outspend the other parent, especially since one of you may have a very limited income. This is just another way of trying to buy a child's love which is wrong. Give your children an opportunity to love YOU, not your money. Spend time talking with your child, playing a game of catch or even playing a board game. Get to know your child and what he/she is interested in—something you can't do if you spend all your time at amusement parks or in the mall. Your child needs YOU, not your money.
Your children know you love them, but what about their other parent. It is important to communicate to your children that the other parent still loves them, but that sometimes people move in different directions and want different things from life. However, that does not mean they no longer love them. Their priorities are just different and we have to accept people for what they are—not try to change them to be what we want them to be. If you love someone enough, you set them free. Help them to understand they can love you both without feeling guilty.
School-age children present a whole new side of the joint physical custody issue. The only way this can work effectively for a child who spends 50/50 time in each household is for the parents to live within a short distance of each other so the child can attend the same school with the same friends. Otherwise, there are problems in getting the child to school on schedule, or problems with living in a neighborhood with kids that attend another school, which tends to make a child feel like an outsider. The less disruption to a child's life, the better off the child will be. When a child reaches school age, it might be best for one parent to have custody during the week, and the other on weekends, especially if there is considerable distance between the two households. The extra time missed by the weekend parent can be made up during the summer or school breaks. The important thing is to sit down, talk about it, and try to work out a schedule that will be in the best interest of the child.
When you are going through a divorce it is the death of a marriage. There is a grieving process. If you are the person who left, then the grieving process has been completed. You have gone through the stages of denial, anger, bargaining, and acceptance. If you are the person who has been left, it has just begun. Allow yourself to experience the process and all the stages. You will find that often a therapist or counselor is better at assisting you than a friend. A death is a death and it takes time to heal, but the important issue is that you will heal.
If your son must grow up without his father, expose him to some positive male role models, such as grandfathers, uncles, and family friends. Have your son understand that he is fortunate to have so many loving men in his life and he is special to all of them. Encourage him to get involved in sporting leagues, scouting, or youth organizations at church for boys, which can provide positive male role models. Help him to find a positive male that can serve as a mentor for him.
First and foremost, there must be open and effective communication. The parents must come to an agreement on rules and guidelines the child is to follow in both homes. If one parent imposes a punishment on a child for a violation of the rules (such as no TV for a week), the other parent needs to back up that punishment if the child is in their home part of that week. There should be similar expectations and limits in both households. Otherwise, the child will end up playing one parent against the other, creating even more tension rather than harmony. You want your child to have a stable life, not one of turmoil and strife between the two parents.