The recession is hitting American families hard and it's not uncommon to see those losing their homes also lose their families to divorce from the stress.
Bob Burger, certified divorce financial analyst from Perspective Financial Services, and Lea Haben, relationship expert with UltimateDatingCoach.com , tells us there are some steps you can take to make sure your family stays strong during financial hardship.
Reassurance and love
Haben says reassurance and love are important to show your children, and remember to reiterate that it is not their fault. She says encourage your child to share their feelings about the situation because it is a fearful time for them.
“Assure your child that they will still have a mommy and daddy no matter what,” Haben says. “A child needs to know this.”
You are a parenting team, so act like one
You should never bad mouth your ex in front of your child, Haben says. Arguments and fights need be kept away from your children. It is also important to assure your child that they will always have love from both parents. Haben says the most harmful factor in children suffering long-term harm from divorce is blaming, bitterness between parents or chronic open conflict.
Burger says deciding what type of divorce is best for a family is key. The collaborative model is a favorite of Burgers. In this model, all decisions are made by the divorcing couple, not the court. The parenting plan is based not on money, but the values of the parents.
Children need routine and structure too
Haben advises that parents should keep their children in the same school and with the same activities. You should also try and keep your child in the same house. If this is not possible, maintain as much of their routine and activities as possible. If possible, sporting activities, meals, and night-time routines should remain the same Haben says.
Burger stresses that each situation is different and needs to be addressed on its own circumstances. For example, parenting plans like Monday and Tuesday at Mom’s, Wednesday and Thursday at Dad’s with alternating weekends may work for younger children, but is more difficult in older children.
“I believe it is very important to listen to the children to gain insight into their wants and needs,” Burger says.
Take charge of your life
Haben says you need to take care of yourself first and start to make healthier lifestyle changes. Here are some helpful tips:
- Spend time with friends and loved ones
- Avoid self-imposed seclusion
- Keep a journal
- See a therapist
Also, you should try and forge a successful relationship with your ex. Your ex will always be a part of your child’s lives, so try and put your children’s needs about the hard feelings and indifferences, both Haben and Burger say. Of course, anger, anxiety, and mild depression may occur, but divorce is a process and it is normal to experience these things. Remember you can move through the process so that the happiness and health of your child are in tact.