Dual Living and Raising
Newly single parents are often faced with the difficulty of their children having to get used to switching their living situations and living in two separate houses throughout the week. This can be hard for your child to get used to, especially if the two of you were living together in the same house as a family for an extended period of time. Children need routine and structure to figure out how the world works. Having their parents split up and having to live in two different houses can be really upsetting for them. If you believe your children to be having a hard to dealing with their new situation, there are things you can do to help your kids through this difficult time.
- Make Things More Familiar. The reality is that your kids are going to be out of whack with this new living situation. The best thing you can do is to do the best you can to make it seem more like home. In a lot of these kinds of situations where both parents split up one parent often times remains in the previous home while the other one gets a new house to live in. If you’re the parent that is in a new place, little things like getting stuff for their room that is similar to the things they had before will make it easier for them to cope with everything. This is even more important for smaller children as they are still developing.
- How Do They Feel? This is probably the easiest thing you can do through this whole process. Simply sitting down and talking with your kids about how they feel about what’s going on, and also how you feel so both of you can bounce ideas off of each other, will help them form good opinions and deal with the change in a healthy way. The last thing you want to just ignore the problem and hope it will go away. Children’s issues need to be addressed by you not only because you’re their parent and it’s your job but also because they need an adult, who is well versed at adapting to life’s issues, to help them form their own opinions on the matter; They learn by watching and listening to you.
Sooner or later everyone gets used to having to live at two different houses. Speaking from experience as a child of parents that were split up, it’s best to discuss things as adults. They need to know that they are not simply extra baggage to have to deal with. A lot of younger children often times internalize the conflict between their parents and come to the conclusion that they are somehow responsible or that they did something to have this happen to their family. If they are not vocalizing these kinds of concerns to you, ask them what’s going on. Communication shouldn’t be an obstacle, it should be a tool to strengthen your relationship.
- Single Parents: The Truth Behind Cultural Stigmas (everydayfamily.com)