All of a sudden you are a single mom! You wonder how you are going to do it all and how to best support your kids during this major transition in all of your lives. There are a few things that you can do to lessen the blow to your children, therefore making your life a little less stressful.
Here are 3 Parenting Tips for Divorced Women:
1. Be Consistent
Consistency cannot be emphasized enough. The more consistency a child has, the less he will feel that his life is spinning out of control. A child who feels safe and secure is less apt to act out. If you were fortunate enough to remain in the family home, then he has less changes around him. Sure, he will miss his father, but his surroundings will be the same.
If it is not possible to stay at the family home, then make every effort to keep the children in the same school. This way, they will have teachers and friends to reach out to and will not have the burden of dealing with dad being gone, moving and making new friends! That’s a lot for anyone to handle.
Keep the child active in any sports teams, clubs or other organizational that they belong to. You might have to call other parents and reach out to them for help in driving your kids to or from events.
Keep the same general household rules. This means the same bed time, tv or internet restrictions, curfews and chores. If it was his job to take out the trash or feed the dog in the family home, then he needs to continue to do this in the new home.
2. Support Your Child
Just as you fear change, so do your children. They do not know what to expect and many have a fear that you will move out too – or will not be there for them. It’s important to assure your child that she is important to you and that you are there for her.
Set down some guidelines and tell her that if she needs to talk that you are there for her. When she tests this theory (and she will!), be prepared to turn off your phone, internet or tv and give her your undivided attention. This goes a lot to assure her that she is valuable to you and that her feelings really do count.
These talks will normally range from 5 to 15 minutes, but provide a lifetime of self worth for your child. As time goes on, you will notice that the sessions decrease as she will really feel that she is important to you and that you will always be there for her.
3. Have a Friendly Relationship with Ex
Do not bash your ex when your children are near – especially if you think it’s safe because they are in the next room sleeping. Children tend to have big ears and may misinterpret things you say.
The ideal scenario is to co-parent with your ex. Set boundaries with your ex regarding rules for the children when they are at each home. Have specific items to discuss, and do not stray from the agenda. By following the agenda for the meeting with your ex, you are able to remain on friendlier terms as you both want what is best for the children. Straying from the agenda may lead to anger or hurt feelings and arguments.
When you and your ex are able to sit in the same room amicably, the child has the benefit of both parents being involved in his life. The child will learn how to get along with others by how well the two of you respect one another. He will also be able to invite both of you to his sports games, school plays and award ceremonies with out thinking he has to choose one parent over another. Remember you and your ex got the divorce – you did not divorce your children.
Unfortunately some men choose not to communicate with their children after a divorce. If this is your situation, you need to be there for your child to lean on. It is still important not to bash him in front of your child – as this just causes more anguish for the child.