Lessons I Learned From My Own Divorce
- Kids enjoy having two Christmases, two Easters, two Thanksgivings, two sets of summer holidays! Support your kids having fun during special holidays with their other parent.
Brian and his boys before separation
- December 26th is just as good as December 25th to celebrate Christmas.
- Get the issues resolved as fast as possible so you can focus on your kids. Unresolved issues can distract you from being the best parent to your kids.
- Cell phones, email, MSN, Facebook, Skype and texting are good ways to keep in touch with your kids depending on their age. Get with it!
- When the kids act out, it may not be related to the divorce. Kids act out!
- Kids will play one parent off against the other. Keep the communication open with your spouse. Don’t assume your kids are always communicating things accurately.
- Get information from the school directly. Give the teacher and principal self-addressed stamped envelopes to make it easy for them to send home newsletters and other information. Try to get their email addresses too.
- Get information directly from coaches and others involved in your kids’ life. Make sure you are on their email lists.
- School buses have odd rules. Make sure you learn the rules and live close by your ex if you want your kids to use the bus for both homes.
- Kids are resilient to change. Lots of their friends will have parents who have gone through a divorce. In the long term, it’s not a huge deal.
Brian and his boys a couple of years after separation
- Get your kid a therapist so they have someone to talk to about issues. Some may be related to the divorce, others may not. It’s a nice gift to your kids.
- Find activities you and your kids can do together.
- The kids shouldn’t be told about the causes of the separation. It’s none of their business and in fact can cause them emotional harm.
- Don’t argue in front of the kids with your ex-spouse. Take it to another room or do it through email or on the phone. Your kids will thank you!
- Provide your spouse with all the information about your kids you would want your spouse to provide to you – even if they don’t reciprocate.
- Kids grow up fast. When you have them in your care, focus on them. Soon they will be off on their own canoe camping trips with their girlfriend!
- Co-parenting may be difficult at first but keep trying. Divorce lawyers can help with this. Always respect your ex’s right to make their own decisions and keep the communication open. Over time, it will get better.
- Teach your kids to respect your ex-spouse. Get them to give cards and gifts to your ex-spouse for Christmas, birthday, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day.
- Create new traditions… new memories.
- Don’t ever put the other parent down in front of the children. Don’t support the kids putting the other parent down either.
- It’s helpful to have the same rules in both houses but it isn’t always possible.
- Don’t try to control what is going on in the other parent’s home.
- Let your kids talk about life in your ex spouse’s home. They just want to share with you their life and that includes time spent with the other parent.
- Be accepting of new partners. They may spend a lot of time with your kids and you want this person to be good to your kids.
- Your ex spouse’s new partner will not replace you. Relax. You aren’t threatened by your kids’ teacher and they spend more time with your kids than the new partner will spend with them so relax.