Divorcing is never easy, but divorcing with kids can be especially difficult. Going through a divorce can be a highly-emotional and challenging time in your life. When it comes to kids and divorce, it’s important for parents to understand what is real and what is a myth. Here’s what you should know about the top 3 myths about kids and divorce.
1. Different House, Different Rules
One of the biggest challenges for divorcing parents is finding a co-parenting plan that most benefits their child. It’s important for kids with divorced parents to have shared set expectations for both households that are consistent with each other. This should also apply to any consequences for failing to meet those shared expectations.
For example, Mom hands down a one-week punishment for breaking a shared house rule. But, 3 days into punishment, it’s time to go to Dad’s house. The child should expect to serve the remaining duration of the punishment, regardless of what house they are at, for breaking any shared rule. It’s important, however, that the parents discuss in advance any punishments that will need to be enforced at the other parent’s house to ensure the parents are in agreement.
This may help your child feel a better sense of emotional well-being and consistency in their overall lives. This also prevents pitting parents against each other in hopes of earning the ‘fun parent’ title.
2. Splitting Holidays is Best
Initially, splitting holidays seems like the easiest choice. This may not always be the case. When it comes to the holidays with kids and divorce, there’s a lot to consider. Imagine Christmas Eve with Mom and Christmas Day with Dad.
The challenges arise when you consider the added chaos of the holidays. From baking and planning to office parties and hosting family and friends, there’s little room for wasted time. And now you have to add relocating the kids to the list.
The kids and the car will need to be packed and then you’ll have to navigate crammed roads or ridiculously long airport security lines. Unpack everything at Dad’s house and once everything is wrapped up, the process starts again shuffling back to Mom’s house.
This type of situation can only add to the stress and chaos of the holidays and waste a ton of precious time that could be better spent with the kids. Instead, parents can work together to create a co-parenting plan that includes holidays spent together. For example, Mom and Dad celebrate with the kids at Mom’s house one year and Dad’s the next.
3. It Never Happened at All
Some believe the myth that the best way to protect kids from divorce is by hiding it. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Kids are more intuitive than we sometimes give them credit for and can sense the changing dynamics within the family.
When parents choose to hide the situation entirely, kids are left to draw their own conclusions as to what happened, and why. More often than not, they will think about the worst possible scenario and may even come to the conclusion that it was their fault and blame themselves for the divorce.
The best way for parents to approach kids and divorce is with an honest, united front. Both parents should offer an age-appropriate explanation. It’s important for parents to stress to their children that they had absolutely nothing to do with the divorce. Kids also need to be reassured that they are still loved and feel as if they are being heard.
If you would like more information on how the collaborative process can help you navigate the world of kids and divorce, contact Best Legal Choices today!