Before, during and after your divorce are the times when you need to work on maintaining a great relationship with your child. It helps to have several types of activities that are special and unique to you and your children to form a great foundation of family.
Maintaining a Great Relationship With Your Child
Going through a divorce is very hard work. You may have thought that explaining it to your kids was the hardest part, but after that, you find that the real work on your family dynamic is even harder. It’s an ongoing process to make your children feel safe and loved at all times, even though their world seems to be torn apart and changed without the non-custodial parent continuously in their lives. This is the time to form solid bonds through life lessons. Not only will it help your children to cope, but it will make your relationship stronger and in doing so, it will help you to cope with the new changes in your life and family.
The Importance of Staying Positive
Being positive can be a really big challenge when you are going through difficult times. It’s important that you remember that positive thinking and talking about your situation can really change your entire outlook on life. It can lighten and change your mood while also lowering your rate of depression. Positivity can actually boost your immunity and it improves your ability to cope with any hardships you will face in your future. It’s a gift that keeps on giving back to yourself and your children throughout life. Positive vibes produce all things that you and your child really needs right now. The psychology of positive thinking tells us that optimistic people have a different manner in which they explain why certain events happen to them and to others. Try not to dwell on the bad things in your everyday life and instead create new great things with your children as often as you can. If your child says they miss the non-custodial parent, which is very likely, remind them that it leaves more time for you as the custodial parent and the child to find new adventures together to add a positive spin to their thoughts. Positivity doesn’t come naturally and it’s not easy, but you can look for small lessons in everyday life at first and then you will excel in this area for your children.
Searching Teachable Moments
Since you are now well on your way to being positive, you need to figure out how to help your children learn lessons at home during this tough spot in your lives. You will likely think that it takes a lot of work at this point in your life to find teachable moments for your child, but you can really surprise yourself if you realize just how easy it can be to show them some great life lessons even when you are at your lowest and feeling totally drained of all energy.
Teach them Earth-Friendly Practices
When children are taught earth-friendly practices to use in their daily lives, they become more aware of other issues instead of their personal issues associated with a divorce. If your children are school aged or toddlers at the youngest, they will love any hands on activity you can think of. You can plant a vegetable garden in the lawn with your children. If you start with seeds, the kids will be amazed at the plants when they start growing and help to tend them until they can enjoy the fruits of their labor with you. If your children are old enough, try going green and all natural with organic vegetable gardening while explaining that you aren’t using chemicals for pest control or fertilizer, but only natural ingredients. You can plant a tree and watch it grow too; to reduce your carbon footprint and teach them about trees that give off oxygen and help you to breathe better outdoors while giving you shade for cooling your home at the same time.
Teach your children that you can ride bikes together to a nearby store and that it’s better for the environment to walk or bike more rather than driving more. You can teach them about the reasoning behind switching to LED light bulbs and how it saves energy and is much safer for use in your home. These are all simple tasks that give you knew manners in which to connect with your kids when things seem rocky and you can reduce your monthly bills as well as have some fun with them in the process.
Nothing Lasts Forever
If your children are struggling with your divorce, as most do, then it’s refreshing to have an honest and open conversation with them at this time. As a St. Louis family law attorney, we advised to tell them that nothing lasts forever in the sense of the feelings that they are harboring today. Explain that the future holds exciting and fun activities for you to do with them together as a family and that their pain will lessen over time. Depending on their age, you can compare this time of darkness to a recent illness that they don’t have any more, like when they had the flu last year and were more sick than ever before. But the sickness passed and so will the confusion and painful feelings that they feel right now.
When adults discover being mindful, they usually find this trait in themselves with the help of meditation. Children can’t usually slow their lives and minds to practice meditation, but fortunately, you can help them discover how to teach mindfulness to kids during a simple walk around the block together. Go outside and go for a walk with the specific idea in mind to notice all things in the world around you. Ask your children to be totally quiet for one minute and concentrate on all the sounds they hear. This can be a longer time period for older kids. Try to find a park area to have this walk so they can observe and hear nature with beautiful birds that are singing or the water lapping onto the banks of a river. There are many state parks available to make this an activity that you can do often with your children and bring a picnic lunch to enjoy while on this new adventure of the great outdoors. This teaches them to bring a claming presence to their mind while giving them a positive mechanism for coping in nature when things get tough for the rest of their entire life. Practicing mindfulness is one of the manners to combat any anxious feelings that you and your children experience during this difficult time. It teaches you to validate your feelings and helps to address each emotion that may come your way at any time so you can cope in a healthy manner.
Discussions of Life Goals
Instead of dwelling on the present, you can ask your children where they think they see themselves in five or 10 years. This is a great way to introduce careers and learning about different types of jobs for them to think about their future. You can help to research the skill sets necessary for a particular profession and the amount of money they could expect along with all the great things they can buy with their income. You can choose to participate in the National Take Your Children to Work Day so they can explore what type of work you do. If you do this, plan a fun lunch and some activities you and your child can do together while they are with you at work. This is the perfect time to talk to your pre-teens and teens about their greatest skills or gifts that give them specific talents for the future workforce.
A great life lesson for any child no matter their age is to teach them compassion through helping others. You can choose a day to volunteer together, even if it’s just for one day. Consider working at a homeless shelter, a soup kitchen or an animal rescue service. If you don’t really have much time to leave your home, then you can get your children involved in helping neighbors. You can do some yard work, or take in trashcans for the elderly adults in your neighborhood. You will likely be very surprised at how great it feels to help others when you are dealing with your own type of grief to boost your spirits and decrease your stress levels by focusing on others.
Finding the Good in Every Situation
As an ongoing practice for both yourself and your kids, learn to find the good in every situation. This can be a bit hard at times and life with throw you many curveballs, but when you dig deep into your soul, you can learn how to accomplish this for yourself and your children. Small things count too. If your child got a B on a test and they are disappointed, tell them it’s not an A, but it is certainly better than a C, which is only average and it means they are above average. Most any situation could always be worse when you compare your life to other’s lives so you can always find someone worse off than you in any way.
Finding balance in your life, some peace and teaching moments while going through divorce can be overwhelming on some days. When you have children that are counting on your or impressionable teens watching your movements, you need to instill teaching moments as often as you can during these hard times.