How To Successfully Parent After Separation and Divorce


When a family experiences the breakdown of the spousal relationship, it involves many life changes and decisions especially for the children. One of the best resources a parent can use to support themselves during the transition is a talented family lawyer and a divorce coach. And a child specialist can help support the children during this challenging transition and give them a much needed voice as their world is turned upside down. The following highlights some of the key issues that parents must deal with after separation and divorce.

Helping Children Adjust To Two Homes

Children thrive when they have the security and predictability of a stable family environment, that is, the familiarity of where they live, eat, sleep and keep their possessions. When a children move between two homes, they are constantly reminded that their parents are no longer a couple. They may also experience feelings of loss, confusion, anxiety and insecurity. A child specialist can help each child and their parents and their divorce coaches communicate about these issues and find ways to restore the child’s sense of security. This sense of security takes a huge effort to rebuild when a child now has a second home and must moves between each parent’s residence.

Parenting Arrangements: Parenting Time and Parenting Responsibilities

To successful transition into a family with two homes for the children, parents and their family professional team need to create Parenting Arrangements which is made up a parenting time schedule and a parenting responsibilities schedule.

One of the most important parenting responsibilities of each parent is to maintain regular, predictable contact with each child. The parents need to create a parenting time schedule that ensures each parent is spending regular times with the children, collectively and individually. And the parents and children need to stick to the schedule! When children and their parents are apart, they can use technology like text, email, or Skype to stay in touch.

The parents need to share and divide their parenting responsibilities and let the children know about this second schedule. Which parent is driving to and from school and extra-curricular activities on any given day, are both parents attending the children’s after school events, in each parent’s home who is responsible for making breakfast and dinner and helping the children pack their lunches, are both parents staying in contact with the health professionals, teachers, tutors and coaches, and is each parent helping the children maintain contact with extended family and friends?

Stay Emotionally Engaged

Separation and divorce has unnecessarily resulted in many parents and children becoming emotionally alienated to some degree. Separation and divorce can lead to children becoming stigmatized and socially isolated in their communities (ridiculous when you consider Stats Canada shows that single parent homes are becoming the norm) and when combined with the drop in children’s lifestyles that accompanies most separation and divorces, a child’s self-esteem can become severely damaged.

Children of all ages need hugs and hearing “I love you” and “I’m proud of you”. Parents need to ensure that their children know that they matter and are valued more than anything or anyone and that their parents love for them is far more powerful than the negative feelings they have for their former spouse. Showing a consistent and strong interest in who they are, making their well-being your number one priority and sharing a life is what being parent is all about.


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