After going through a divorce, it can be hard to settle back into parenting, especially as a newly single parent. To help make this transition easier for both you and your child, here are some important things to keep in mind as you navigate your new routines.
A Common Process
Over 827,000 divorces happen every year, meaning you are not alone in your struggle. Thousands of parents each year are confronted with the challenge of changing their parenting styles. The mistake many parents make is assuming that their cases are unusual or that their children will be negatively impacted by their divorce. However, this isn’t the case. In divorces where the split is made amicably, children often fare better than in cases where the separation plays out like a battle. For this reason, it is important to communicate well with your partner throughout the process. Don’t push your children to feel like they have to choose sides.
In most cases, divorcing can be an amicable process. However, in more difficult situations, it’s important to keep arguments away from the children. Take steps to reach compromises that benefit your children the most. Some divorcing parents find taking specially designed classes helpful for teaching them the best strategies for getting along and parenting after divorce. There are also plenty of online resources that can help. The first page result of Google alone contains an average of 1,890 words, providing you with plenty of advice on how to best handle a divorce.
Sites like UpToParents offer interactive guides on how divorcing parents can continue to meet their children’s needs. Resources like this can be important for helping parents stay focused on the things that truly matter, instead of petty disputes that can arise. While every divorce is different, thousands of couples go through them every year and come out better than before.
Sorting Through Finances
One of the biggest hurdles divorced parents face is sorting out finances after the split. The average cost of divorce can be between $15,000 and $42,000 in the United States. In addition to that, you may have to sort out savings, debts, property, and child support which can be payable until a child turns 21. To ascertain how everything should be split, a judge will look at a couple of deciding factors:
- The total amount of money and property
- Each parties ability to earn income
- The standard of living and basic living expenses
- The individual roles in the marriage (who was the primary income provider, etc.)
The court will work to spit up everything as fairly as possible, with the highest priorities given to the arrangements that impact the children.
Outside of the court’s decision, it’s important to look at your finances to ensure you can provide what is necessary for your children. If you are a party responsible for paying child support, consider how you can budget around what is owed every month. On the other hand, if you are receiving child support, consider how you can best use the money to the benefit of the children.
After a divorce, creative budgeting may be required while you adjust to having one less household income. To make the most of this, consider cost-effective alternatives to services and products. For example, shopping at wholesale stores or thrift outlets as opposed to big-box or department stores. Steps like this can help you maintain your standard of living even with a tighter budget.
Raising Kids as a Single Parent
If you have primary custody of your children after a divorce, you may be concerned about parenting without a partner. However, being a single parent doesn’t have to be scary. There are over 13.6 million single parents in the United States. While it’s not always easy, it is possible if you keep a couple of important tricks in mind.
- Creating Routines
Creating routines helps add a level of predictability to every day. This can help kids become more accustomed to living with one parent. It also makes it easier for you to plan out your weeks. This can make planning finances and meals easier as well. You can plot out weekly costs every weekend and stick to your budget.
- Provide Extra Encouragement and Support
Divorce can be a tricky time for children and providing giving them additional attention can help make the transition easier. This doesn’t mean showering them with gifts. Instead, spend more time with them and go out of your way to provide extra affection and praise. Consider planning weekly outings to the park or other locations that provide a place to bond and make memories. Most kids will appreciate the time spent with them much more than a new toy.
- Teaching Gratitude
Sometimes children in divorced families can become aware of the things they are missing out on. While this can depend on the child and the age they are when the divorce occurs, it’s important to stress the positives. Teaching gratitude is something all parents, divorced or not, should do. Make sure to teach your child the value of what they do have. Not only will this benefit them in the short term, but it can help teach them to be more kind and humble as they become adults. This something all families can benefit from.
- Connect with Similar Families
Lastly, connecting with other single parents can help both you and your child acclimate to the change. For you, it can be a way of learning from others in the same situation, and for children, it can be a way of letting them know that their family isn’t unusual. This can also be a great way to make connections. For instance, you can partner with another family for a group trip to amusement parks, museums, or the zoo. All of this helps children adjust while giving them the support that they need.
Divorce isn’t uncommon, though it can be tricky when children are involved. If you are looking for ways to adjust to your new living situation, remember that your focus should always be on what is best for your child. Taking time to set routines and spend additional time with your children can help acclimate you both and give you something positive to focus on. If you’re on good terms with your spouse you can even plan weekend activities with them to keep them in contact. Often it’s the simplest steps that can have the biggest impacts when it comes to raising children after a divorce.