Whether you have a single child or a group the rules stay the same. It would be best if limited changes were made in the first six months. Your children’s security issues are your first concern and they need to feel that their love for you and yours for them is secure and forever . Children need to know that Mom and Dad loves them. Children want to feel that they are safe and their family is stable. Children want to know that the love that Mom and Dad have for them is not based on the love you have for their father.
Let them be children. Children are used many times for one reason or another to further the fight and cause of the divorce. This is done at the harm of the children. Keep your divorce to yourself. Keep your feelings about the divorce to yourself. You have friends and family to talk about this. Your children should be out of ear shot when you decide to talk. Your children should know nothing involving your inner feelings about their father. By the same token, when they visit him, they should know nothing about how you feel about him, other than what they used to know, Mom loves Daddy, they just don’t live together anymore.
Depression can set into a single person’s life and keep them from enjoying their children, life and getting on with their own happiness. Take vacations, if you don’t have money then camp out, in the back yard if necessary. Do something different, join groups, get involved with clubs, meet co-workers for a night out. A few dollars spent on a meal out with the girls will not keep you in the poor house or off the collectors call lists. But it will keep you thinking good thoughts and a positive outlook during hard times.
Do not get them involved in the lives of adults. Keep them out the room when you and your friends discuss problems in relationships, child support, visitation and new girlfriends or boyfriends, dates, romance or sex. Children want to be included in adult conversations but when it comes to some issues, they need to be kept in the dark. Children of divorced parents have to become accustom to seeing changes in the family dynamics. Limit your children meeting transitional people and passing acquaintances, this will help them keep safe from people that may have sinister motives for being involved in your family.
The children are dealing with rules and boundaries changing . Keep the children informed on what you are doing and what has to change and why. This does not include the explanations and reasons all leading to the divorce. The first days after the breakup involve changes in living arrangements, emotional, financial, location and change in future they envisioned. Will you be counting on the oldest to be just a little older, setting their own needs aside to be a part-time parent, babysitter in a pinch, part-time housekeeper and jack of all trades. Does the youngest feel that everybody has new jobs to do and they are just a bother. They all know that only one person is there. They will wear you out with questions and letting you know in their own way that they don’t like their new responsibilities and situation. They will do their best to convey the message they want their old life back. Get a circle of support, adults that can come together for the sake of the children and help; friends, family and ex-family, agencies and clubs. Boys and girls club for after school support. Grandma and grandfathers to pick up from school to start home work and over see chores are started. Friends can help a lot with allowing you time with each of your children to give them a sense of having special time with them. You can do the same with your friends giving them the same opportunity. Uncles and Aunts that live close by can lend support with spending time with the children, befriending them.
On half the income this is an impossible task to keep the life styple that you and your children once enjoyed. Review the financial situation and accept your limitations. Make whatever decisions you must to give your children an easy transition into the single life that you now have in your future. Write down your bills and list all your possessions and make some hard decisions on what is important and what you must do to keep your family comfortable and secure. If you try to keep everything together with the same income you will fail. You fail to accept the divorce and the changes that came with that decision.
One of the most difficult times was when school is out for the summer or goes back in session in the fall as well as teachers conference days and those one day holidays. Don’t wait until the last minute. Set up play dates, grandparents for visits, babysitters and a list of people whom you can call for someone who needs to stay home sick. There are young mothers on every street that need to make a few dollars watching children who are off from school. They will be thankful for the money they will make and you will be glad for their convenience so close to home. Don’t forget that they need time away from their new baby too.
Each of your children will need someone to have their confidence, a uncle, an aunt, a friend or your child will pick his or her own, friend, club or gang or passe. Either a positive influence or negative one; you choose. Remember not making a choice is a choice. Just letting something happen is wrong and not a responsible act. In addition, depending on how emotional the divorce, the age of your children and other complex issues, it may become necessary for a therapist for one or all of them. Your church or social services in your state or county offer free or nearly free services that can be a help to you during this divorce process. They all have rules of ethics make sure you read them and understand them fully. Some involve the whole family and other are more one on one counseling. Whatever you select make sure that it is in the best interest of the child or children. If for some reason, you do not see a benefit to a specific counselor or therapist ask to be referred to another, personality conflicts do occur and you are under no obligation to give them a reason other than in the best interest of your child or children.
Medical and dental insurance for your children is a must while inquiring about social services ask about insurance, they can offer you free or reduced rates based on your income. This and many other services are offered by the state or county to anyone in need. Asking for help may be a barrier but don’t let it stop you, this is for your children and you want the best for them. Catholic charities was one of the best in providing food, clothing, counseling and money to pay a bill.
It is easy to ask help for someone who always says yes but you will wear them out. Remember to talk to everyone and ask for help from each of them. Keep his and your family involved with the children. This keeps the lines of communication open and friendly and gives your children a chance to have continuing relationships with the family. Having “a bring a dish” supper involving friends and family is an excellent way to involve all of them in the everyday life of the children. Meeting at a local garden, marina or park gives everyone a break from the mundane and lends to the excitement of a new experience without the added cost or expense.
Establish a code between your children and yourself. No one has the right to question your children without you being present. No one has the right to take your children from school without your permission. Training your children to remember a name of a pet or word gives them a sense of security if someone comes to the school and wants them to go with them if they don’t know the code: the answer is NO!. They should know who to contact and have that number with them or where to find it. They should have someone else they can count on in the event of an emergency and that person should be named by you. This is not meant to scare your children but to further establish your love for them.
Keep the communication open and the lines friendly in a divorce is just one way that the parents can look passed their own failures and give their children at a better example of relationships. He may not be your husband anymore but he is their father whatever the issues, two people came together and created these beautiful children and then something happens. Make a commitment to each of your children that your relationship with them will stand the test of time.