There are many pieces of advice that relate to children and divorce. Sometimes the advice relates to how you can survive a divorce and other advice relates to what kids need to survive a divorce. Before you start taking advice about how to handle your situation it is a good idea to evaluate what needs your family has. This will help you to focus your attention on finding the advice that is relevant to your situation.
Evaluating Emotional Needs
The first thing that you need to evaluate is the emotional needs of your family. These needs are going to be related to what each member in your family needs in order to progress through the process of grieving for the loss of the old family structure and what they need to develop emotional skills that will help them deal with future challenges. A good way to approach this evaluation is to hold a family meeting and to discuss everyone’s feelings.
During the discussion process you can help your kids to express their emotional needs by providing them with an example. For example, you can say that you are sad that the old family structure is gone and that you need extra support in the form of patience, compassion and help around the house. If your kids are having a hard time talking about their emotional needs have them write the needs down on a slip of paper. Some kids will also do better if you talk with them privately about what they are feeling and what they need to help them through this difficult time.
Evaluating Physical Needs
A divorce creates many changes in a family’s life, including many physical changes. These physical changes often relate to the challenges of splitting a family into two households. This process creates financial stress and logistic issues.
Evaluating physical needs is easier to do then evaluating the family’s emotional needs. To start with you can create a simple list. This list can be divided into sections. The sections will relate to individual family members and to each household. Under each section physical needs can be identified, such as household A needs to increase monthly income to cover all living experiences, while child A needs a visual calendar so they know whose house they will be at each week.
Evaluating Time Sensitive Needs
During and after a divorce many issues are going to arise. Some issues can be dealt with when ever you have time, while others will be more time sensitive. To evaluate these needs you will want to create a list that is divided into time frames. These time frames will include “within one week,” “within the month,” within two months,”…”within a year.” You can also use headings that relate to tasks that need to be done by a certain date.
Under each heading you will need to list the tasks that need to be accomplished within the time frame. For example, you may need to list “find an apartment” under the “within a month” heading. You may also need to list “tell kids about the divorce” under the “within the week” heading.
Evaluating your family’s needs after a divorce is a step that is often overlooked or avoided. This is unfortunate because it can help you to organize what you need to do as a family in order to survive the process of divorce. It also can help you to better manage your time and resources so that the divorce is not as overwhelming as it usually is.