Children of Divorce – Maintenance Required
For many of you who own cars, you understand the importance of regular maintenance, such as tire rotation and changing the oil. If a car is not consistently maintained, a car’s miles per gallon will diminish over time. The same is true of our relationships with our children, and extra special care should be taken with the relationships to our children resulting from divorce.
For example, your child might have managed a week away at the school’s science camp last month but has a hard time handling a sleepover at a friend’s house this week. The change probably doesn’t mean a problem, but it may be time for a maintenance check. Some of the questions you might want to ask yourself should include the different aspects of your child’s life.
Emotional/Intellectual State of Children of Divorce
What other stresses is your child managing? Children of divorce are managing two home lives. It’s important to communicate with not only your child but also your coParent. Even though you are divorced, your child’s well-being should always be at the center. Is your child’s schoolwork overwhelming? Is he or she worried about being cast in the play or other extra-curricular activities? Has there been new conflict at home? Is your coParent away on business or sick? Did a new sibling just arrive? Even something as seemingly benign as having visitors at the house or painting a room a new color can add stress and diminish your child’s mpg.
Physical State of Children of Divorce
How’s your child’s physical health? Observe your child, ask him or her, or ask your coParent: Is the child having trouble sleeping? Is the child’s appetite off? Is the child struggling with allergies, an injury, or a persistent pain? If so, your child may feel less secure and confident away from his or her anchors.
Environmental Factors around Children of Divorce
Even if your child is fine, he or she may be less willing or able to let go if someone else is stressed or ill. Your child’s mpg will drop dramatically if there are fears that you might not be there when he or she gets home; if your child worries that there might be violence or drinking or drugging while he or she is gone. Does he or she worry that his siblings might get sick or his pets will die if he or she is away? Or on the flip side of that coin, does your child think he or she will miss out on something fun? Exciting news or a party or a present?
These are a few things to be aware of with children of divorce. Additionally, there are ways to minimize the impact of divorce for your child.