Structure amid strife: Two critical tips for divorce involving children

Ending a marriage is one of the most complicated situations many adults face. Matters typically become even more complex with the involvement of children.

No matter how parents try to shelter their kids from the stress of divorce, children are inevitably swept up in the storm. The split may be less traumatic for minors when they abide by similar rules and consequences shared by their parents.

Consistency and stability

Separating from your spouse can provide a sense of freedom in raising your children the way you see fit. It’s natural for two people to disagree, after all.

Once you’re on your own, you might lighten up on your expectations to allow your children some space in processing their feelings. You may also correct fewer negative behaviors to allow emotional expression.

However, despite the changes affecting your kids, they need routine. Discipline is no exception.

Kids need to know what to expect

Children typically fear the unknown. During upheaval in family life, there are various reasons why structure is essential as kids shift between homes.

Consider, for example:

  • Since children’s brains aren’t fully developed, kids lack rational decision-making capabilities and emotional control. Behaviors may indicate increased stress levels in children who don’t know what to anticipate.
  • With independence comes confidence. Consistency provides the space for children to complete their daily tasks on their own.
  • Implicit expectations can minimize power struggles in the home. Routines also teach time management and instill self-discipline.

You and your ex probably won’t agree on much, but you would be wise to put your personal differences aside for the sake of your kids. With the resiliency required of your children during divorce, providing consistency helps them adapt.