Between all the court dates and property division and child custody discussions, the process of divorce can be expensive, time-consuming and sometimes stressful in New Mexico. As tough as these aspects of your divorce may be, if you have kids, you’re probably more worried about how they are doing.
All children handle divorce differently. Some are angry, others are sad and some are even relieved, especially if their parents’ relationship was really breaking down at the end. Whatever your children are experiencing, it’s important you take the time needed to hear their concerns and move forward as a better parent.
Make Time for Your Children
Divorce is enough to keep you busy, but adjusting to your post-divorce life can bring even more challenges. Before you begin to feel overwhelmed, carve out time just for your kids. Prioritize their needs as much as you possibly can and make time for them on a daily basis. Even if you have a busy day planned, try to make time for a ice cream date with your kids after school or a family dinner.
Ask your children about their lives, their friends, schools, extracurricular activities, or whatever else they have going on. Ensure that your children know you’re focused on their needs and available to them. Plan for fun events, even if it’s just a day trip to the park. This helps remind them that you are still a family and can still do fun things together.
Approach Co-Parenting With an Open Mind
Co-parenting is an entirely new situation, so it can be tough at first. Whether you have visitation, full custody or joint custody, it’s important to find a way to work with your co-parent as best as you can. Your former spouse may have different rules for the kids in his or her home, and it’s likely you won’t agree on every parenting decision. As annoying as this may be at times, keep your focus on your kids and avoid dwelling on the past. Even if you and your ex aren’t on good terms, keeping it civil will be the best way to smooth the co-parenting process for everyone involved. If you need to have a serious conversation with your ex, always make sure your children aren’t around to hear it.
Keep It Consistent
A lot of changes come with divorce, but children do best in a stable environment. You can’t keep everything the same as it was before the divorce, but you can introduce consistency into their lives in other ways. If, for example, your old habits involved your ex, create some new ones just for you and the kids. Another thing that goes a long way is keeping your promises; if you say you will pick your kids up at 1pm, make sure you’re there at 1pm.
Take Care of Yourself, Too
As crucial as it is to put your children’s needs before you own, you also need to care for yourself. You will be no help to your kids if you are not healthy mentally and physically. Lean on your own support system of family, friends and a good outlet, such as a new class or gym membership. If you think you need more help than your support system can provide, don’t be afraid to speak to a professional, such as a therapist.
Work on being the best parent you can be after a divorce so you and your kids can thrive. Keep in mind that if you are having major trouble with your ex when it comes to visitation, parenting or child support issues, you should speak to your family law attorney about your options before you act.