January 22, 2016
Divorce and Children – 3 rules around time decisions
Life after a divorce is a difficult time for all involved.
It’s especially challenging for your children. Most don’t understand what’s happened to you or them. You’re asking your children to make difficult choices or even forcing change on them. Suddenly, they are out of the family home and sharing time with each of you. Different houses, different rules, different expectations……………………….confusion!
The decision you make now may well have long-term repercussions. How do you make the right decisions about divorce and your children?
So here is a broad outline of some tested rules:
1 Avoid conflict with your partner at all costs. Your children want and deserve both parents in their lives. If your kids are younger, it’s best that they stay with the parent most able to provide day to day care. The first unwritten rule of divorce and children is that you must cause as little disruption as possible.
2 Older children will be much savvier to the situation. They know that things haven’t been right for a while. Perhaps other friends have had parents who have been through a divorce. The second unwritten rule of divorce and children is ‘inclusion’. Listen carefully to the wishes of your children and where possible consult with them before making decisions. Contact with friends and involvement in either social activities or sports will influence their happiness, so don’t overcomplicate things if possible.
3 Plan holiday time and birthdays well in advance. These dates tend to have an emotional charge built in. You must be rational, logical and never lose your sense of fairness. The third unwritten rule of divorce and children is to agree on visitation arrangements early. Conflict occurs most frequently when decisions are left or changed at the last minute. Explain the options to your children – always ensure that important dates are shared. Always try to be accommodating but never submissive.
The time you share with your children is precious and over before you realise it. You should aim for balance between your needs and the needs of your partner and the rights of everyone involved. You should always aim to minimise the stress and angst.