A vast majority of us feel like our entire life has been uprooted (emotionally and physically) following a divorce. New career…home… and hairstyle? You might even be watching completely new Neftlix shows now that your’e sleeping single. This high degree of change causes incredible stress and it’s no surprise that all the “newness” leaves a parent often in survival mode. During this time of transition it’s crucial to develop new routines for you and your children. We already know that toddlers and elementary age children thrive with routines like naps, bedtime stories, baths….but the need for rituals doesn’t end when your child enters the teenage years. Although it is psychologically normal for teens to act overly independent and often distant (with married or divorced parents), the rituals at home help build the foundation necessary for teenagers to eventually spread their wings. You can create these routines together as a family, using this opportunity to bond as you set the stage for stability in the next phase of life.
Allow Your Kids to Have a Voice About New Routines: Every divorce is different, but almost all kids feel a loss of control regarding their parents separation and the avalanche of upheaval that follows. You probably didn’t consult your children before making the big decision to end it, which makes it even more important to ask their input regarding new rules, routines, and traditions. Not only will they feel respected, having a sense of control and contribution has a distinct positive impact on kids/teens. When a person believes they have the power of influence and control over their life, there is a significant decrease in: discipline problems, depression, and eating disorders. A sense of power can also dramatically increase efficiency in kids as well as adults. Give kids the power to choose how they will contribute to weekly chores and you might be surprised at how much more proactive they become. In addition to creating emotional stability, rituals can also be something to look forward to and a chance for family fun on a regular basis. Your family might get excited about restaurants, sports, movies, shopping….find what works for you and what fits into your schedule for mid week consistency and long weekend traditions. You are in the position to build a new life… and that includes building a new, and possibly even better, relationship with your children. From toddlers to adults, your kids can benefit from new traditions and rituals that you create together.