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How to make the transition to divorce easier on your kids

Your divorce may be hard on your children. As many divorced parents in Missouri know, it can be difficult to protect your kids entirely from the challenges of adjusting to a new home life. However, children are resilient, and there are things you can do to make the process a little easier on your kids.

Focus on structure first

Once you have a parenting plan in place, sticking to it is important. It creates structure and helps your children understand what to expect going forward.

Set new expectations

In addition to creating a structured home life, it can also be helpful to establish ground rules. If possible, work with your ex to get on the same page about certain expectations, including a bedtime, curfew, allotted TV or computer time and others. Setting clear rules will help your children know exactly what they need to do to live up to your expectations.

Focus on your time with your kids - not your ex's

When you can no longer see your children any time you want, it is easy to experience feelings of jealousy or loneliness. However, it is important to avoid interfering with your children's time with your ex - unless their well-being is in danger. Your children deserve to spend time with their other parent, too.

If you can't say something nice...

If you and your ex did not end your relationship on good terms, it is possible you have negative feelings toward him or her. If you need to let them out, talk to a friend or family member, but avoid saying bad things about your ex in front of your children. Your children deserve a relationship with their other parent, and saying negative things in front of them can make them feel confused about which parent to trust or forced to choose sides.

Stay consistent, but give yourself time to adjust

It is difficult to go from having a second parent in the house to being on your own. While you and your ex may have traded off certain duties before your divorce, you may now feel overwhelmed trying to fill his or her shoes in addition to your own responsibilities.

As you work on adjusting, start by simply sticking with your former routine. If you were in charge of helping with homework in the evenings, continue to do that. Don't force yourself to take on more than you can handle because you may end up falling short for your kids. If you want to add to your schedule, do so at a pace that will allow you to fully commit to new activities.

If you have a custody problem, talk to a lawyer

You can do everything right to help your children transition into a new family life after your divorce, but you cannot control the behavior of your ex. If he or she is not adhering to your agreed upon parenting plan or putting your children's well-being at risk, it is important to talk to an experienced family law attorney.

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