Divorce is not easy for anyone, and children have their own unique issues when the family unit breaks apart. However, you can help them over the rough spots and make sure they transition as smoothly as possible into this new chapter in their lives. While at first it may be difficult or at least awkward, working out a plan with your ex-spouse to help your children adjust to life between two parents and two homes is now a priority.
Different ages, different reactions
Young children look at the family breakup as a frightening event. Divorce shakes their trust in you, and they tend to wonder what is going to happen next and who will take care of them. In addition, they may fantasize that somehow you two parents will work out a way to get back together. Small children sometimes suffer from separation anxiety, and there will probably be whining, clinging and the occasional tantrum to deal with. On the other hand, adolescent children may pull away from you. In fact, the divorce may make older children test the waters of independence earlier than usual. They will probably gravitate toward their friends, and you may find that anger has supplanted trust if they do not talk with or confide in you as they once did.
Keeping family order
Helping your children transition between two homes is likely going to be one of the major items on your to-do list. Establish routines that are similar in the two households. Children of all ages need to know what is expected of them, and they get along better when they themselves know what to expect. Let them have space and time to be by themselves when they need it, but always keep the lines of communication open. Provide them with continual reassurance that you are there for them and that your love will always be strong and unchanging, even though the family circumstances have undergone a very large shift.
A good relationship is everything
No matter what their ages, your children need to have strong relationships with both their parents. Make sure that they have maximum exposure to good parenting practices and minimum exposure to conflict, and you will have done your best to see that they are happy and well-adjusted in their new circumstances.
Developing a co-parenting plan is a good start to establishing solid relationships. If you need help to create a workable plan, you can reach out to an attorney experienced with family law.