I grew up in a home with one parent. I didn’t experience the joys of a two parent household, or the lows of going from a two parent household to one, but my children did. I didn’t realize the effect that it would have on my children with my now ex husband.
Battling with behavioral issues, emotional issues and just myself readjusting to being a single parent, it’s hard. Your child feels everything you feel, thus possibly creating tension between child and selective parent. It’s important to shield them from adult conversations and problems as children don’t know where to place their stress. They take it on, like a sponge and because they can’t explain it, they act out in ways, we as parents ignore the why and acknowledge the act, and while excuses are not acceptable, knowing why – can play a huge role in correction.
I have an 8 year old and a 5 year old. I often ask them separately and together, how are they feeling with the changes going on. My daughter would always say she’s happy as long as I am happy. She doesn’t want much. She visits her dad every other weekend, but for the most part she prefers to be right up under me. My son, who’s 5, is still at that “I want my daddy” stage and while I am now in a new relationship, I feel between my son and my love, there’s that “you ain’t my dad” resistance. But TIME…They both are warming up to each other, and it’s getting a little easier, but again, TIME.
Some things that will help your family adjust during this time are below, I hope this helps. Easier said than done, but with time, effort and patience, you’ll get it, I promise you!
1.Do not bad mouth the other parent in front of your child
a.It’s simple. You aren’t going to want your child to come home and say “my mom says you’re a carpet munching whore, dad” or “dad says you slide on dicks for a living”, lol. Extreme but you get the point. Don’t bad mouth the other parent regardless
2.For the sake of your child, try to have a positive co-parenting relationship
a.Having two birthdays, two Christmas’, two everything – it’s too much. Sometimes it is what’s best. However, it is important for children to see that their parents can get along regardless. While they love the benefits of having two, the turmoil that it could cause between two parents, could cause the child to take blame for the separation, and that’s no fair nor is it ok.
3.If you have multiple children, spend individual time with each, alone. Just you and them
a.It’s important. According to my 8 year old “it feels like we’ve lost two parents. Before when Jai and his dad would hang out, me and you would hang out. But now I can’t get you to myself at all, and it makes me sad”. Still a work in progress, but it’s getting better.
4.It’s ok to date again, but be selective and very careful when you introduce your partner to your children
a.Listen, life doesn’t stop now that you’re a single parent. My rules prior to being committed – if you wanna see me, fine. If they you come to my house, ok but only while my children are sleeping, and you gotta be gone before they wake up. For the most part, house visits didn’t happen. You have to be confident in your situation before introducing them. At this point, when a child deals with a separation, they have attachment and abandonment issues. If you aren’t sure where it’s going or have any doubt, do not involve your children and rethink the relationship. Just understand you are a packaged deal with your child/children, your potential lover needs to understand “if you ain’t shittin’ then get off the pot!”