It's not uncommon for children to struggle after a divorce. Many children, especially young ones, have trouble processing the chaos and confusion that often accompanies a split. Sometimes, this can translate into behavioral problems at home and at school.
Parents can help minimize their children's stress by agreeing to co-parenting strategies before the divorce is finalized. Even if the parents are not getting along, it is important that they work together for the best interests of their children.
Experts recommend that newly divorced parents consider the following tips:
- Commit to communication: Both spouses should be willing to have open and honest discussions about what is going on in the children's lives. Parents who are uncomfortable with face-to-face discussions may want to consider using one of the many co-parenting websites that are available online.
- Enforce consistent rules: Rules regarding homework, chores, bedtime and other important areas should be the same at both parents' homes. Kids thrive on consistency and predictability.
- Stay positive: Parents should refrain from saying anything negative about their ex-spouse and should encourage the children to avoid this behavior as well.
- Involve extended family: Parents should come to an agreement on the role that grandparents and extended family will play in the children's lives, paying special attention to the role that one parent's family will play when the children are in the other parent's care.
- Be flexible, but united: It may be necessary to change parenting strategies to meet the children's needs. This should always be done together, though. A united front is always the best recipe for successful co-parenting.