For kids, divorce can be a traumatic experience, and the ongoing feeling of not feeling at home can be another terrible emotional journey. However, with preparation and mindfulness, divorcing parents can make the process a new, exciting adventure.
Before venturing out on each spouse’s new path, the divorcing spouses should talk about how they are going to keep their children’s lives as normal as possible (i.e., keep as much chaos out of the split as possible). This means deciding where the spouses will live, staying in the same city or county, one of the parents staying in the same school district, etc. Talk about how to make the transition into two homes as easy as possible on the kids and the life they have already built.
Make them part of the discussion and process
Talk to the kids opening, let them ask questions and make them part of the process. This does not mean taking them to court proceedings, necessarily, but it does mean letting them help pick out the new place, new decorations, furniture, etc. The goal should be to give the children a sense of place and ownership in their new surroundings. This also means giving them their owner, actual space, like a bedroom or some other segregated area that is just for them.
Make moving back-and-forth easier
Make sure the kids have to take as little as possible between homes. Have two copies of their favorite books, two toothbrushes, clothes, pajamas, toys and everything in both places. This will make both places feel like extensions of the same place, their Los Angeles, California, home.
Agree on rules that are the same in both houses
As children age and their ability to choose which parent they want to stay with increases, some parents use this as a reason to battle of who can be the most lenient. Do not fall into this trap. Remember, both parents can parent differently, but both parents should agree on safety rules. Other than that, chores, bedtime, etc. can be different in both houses.
The key really is working as a Los Angeles, California, team to co-parent and ensure that the kids feel loved. Both homes should feel like home, and both parents should work to ensure that is the case, for the sake of the children.