You recently remarried as a new divorcee. Now, think about your role in your new family. If there are kids, they're probably coping with divorce in their own ways. And, your new spouse has their methodologies and coping mechanisms also. You're not alone, however. Over 50 percent of families in the US are blended families. And, it's possible you have your children coming into a blended family with you.
You and your new partner must set parameters as early as possible. It'll make everyone's life easier, and it'll let the kids know they are still the priority. No matter what your situation, starting a blended family doesn't have to be challenging. You must, however, be willing to make some concessions. So, here's how to cement your happiness and carefree life as a new family.
Allow Kids Room To Grieve When Coping With Divorce
There are multiple reasons people divorce from one another. Financial stresses in their lives, lack of common interests, or different personal beliefs. In some cases, individuals learn they are not a good fit for each other. They feel it's best to move on from one another and do so amicably. Things tend to get difficult when there are children in the mix. Teaching them how to live in separate homes, and abide by different rules, often brings along many challenges. As parents, it's important to give them space in coping with divorce and dealing with their emotions. Even though you weren't happy as a couple, doesn't mean children want to see their parents split up. Most children would prefer their families stay together, at all costs.
Parents shouldn't push their children to feel a certain way. Nor should they speak negatively about their ex when going through a divorce. The easier parents make the transition for kids who are coping with divorce also, the smoother it will be for everyone. Especially when blended families are in the mix, and there are new step-parents and step-siblings.
8 Tips For Coping With Divorce
There's no right way of coping with divorce. One family's methods aren't superior to another family's choices. Especially when dealing with blended families and young children, it's important to keep things amicable and civil. Here are several tips for coping with divorce, to help during this challenging period the family is experiencing.
Keep things amicable and don't speak negatively about the ex
Kids tend to pick sides when parents can't keep their ill-feelings towards each other to themselves. It's hard making finances, work, and your life work in harmony living on your own. When there are kids, a new spouse, step-kids, and biological children in the mix, it further complicates things. Creating harmony in a blended family is only possible when former spouses can keep things amicable. In some cases, it's not possible to remain civil in private. But, parents can, and should, at least act amicably in front of the children.
Divorcees have to do everything possible to make the living situation as easy as possible for the children. If kids are continually witnessing their parents fight, it's difficult to create a positive family and living situation. It's even more of a challenge when the new spouse speaks ill of a former spouse — especially if they're doing this in front of their kids. As parents, doing whatever it takes to remain friendly with one another, is imperative when you have kids. Respecting the ex-spouse, and remaining civil throughout the process is essential. When coping with divorce, it's the best way to ensure things work out for all parties involved.
Plan finances accordingly
Second marriages often bring financial distress into the mix or at least challenges. Communicating is key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle with blended families. Co-parenting is also important. Especially where partners fall into different tax brackets or one person makes significantly more/less than the other. It's important to know how parents will take care of the kids, and whose finances are paying for expenses. That's the case with both divorcees, namely when both partners remarry.
It's important to discuss how families plan on paying for food, clothing, shelter, and other necessities. It's also essential for each ex-spouse to delineate their responsibilities financially, to take care of their child. And, once the blended families come together, it makes it far easier to determine how they'll spend finances. They'll know how to budget for the children versus other forms of spending.
Taking care of the children is a primary concern for divorcees. It's important for blended families to discuss how much of their joint finances go towards caring for children. The earlier families have this conversation, the better. It avoids internal and external conflicts. It also ensures kids have what they need in life regardless of which parent maintains custody.
Allow each family member to grieve in their own way
When coping with divorce, children are going to handle things differently than adults. Further, some adults get through struggles relatively quickly, while others need years of therapy or counseling. And, in some cases, one partner might never fully get over a divorce. The same goes for children and other family members. That's why it's important to give each their own space, and the necessary time, to cope with things.
Give yourself time to grieve after the loss. People need to find things they enjoy doing and spend time with people who make them happy. Focus on new career endeavors or travel. For the kids, allow them to stay with friends, or take their frustrations playing sports. There's no set period for grieving. Nor is there one single way that is superior to others when people are grieving a divorce. Understanding that everyone is different makes coping with divorce easier for all parties involved. It allows people to flush out their anger and frustration. And, it also eventually will enable them to heal from the emotional stress divorce takes on the body and mind.
Enjoy your new family
This tip might seem simple enough, but many divorcees tend to feel guilty and don't enjoy their life. They feel guilty for having left their former spouse, or hurting their children. Often, they feel guilty about how their former spouse will care for themselves, and manage finances. Make time for bonding with step-children but allow them to set the pace. Find ways to make new friends as a couple after remarrying. Look for common interests, and new spots to visit together.
It's important to start a new life together. It's also important to go on and live life to the fullest. People who continually harp on the past, and feel guilty, aren't coping with divorce in the best manner. They're making themselves miserable, and aren't allowing themselves to find happiness moving forward. It's important to move on, find ways to create new memories and happiness moving forward.
Consider visiting a counselor or therapist
Blending families into a step-family is challenging in many situations. Kids have ties to their parents, and it's tough for them to connect with a step-parent. Counseling or therapy is an excellent way for blended families to begin untangling an intricate puzzle or mess, particularly with children. Children sometimes view a step-parent as getting in the way, or the bad guy who broke their parents up. Counselors and therapists help children realize the complexities behind marriage. They teach them how to vent frustration, and show them why their parents weren't happy together. It will take time, but it will eventually help blended families come together.
A therapist or counselor's office is also a "safe place" for kids. When they are coping with divorce, it's a place they can speak freely and get their frustrations out. That's going to allow them to grow, and eventually, communicate better with step-parents. Although it will take some time, it will ultimately help bring families closer. It will also help everyone involved learn how to cope with the new lifestyle.
Hire a divorce attorney
Most divorces get messy. There's no way around it. If there's money, a considerable estate, or if one parent seeks sole custody, things are even worse. Or, if one person is the primary earner, and the other doesn't work, matters get worst. A divorce attorney helps hash out the details when coping with divorce, and the stress that comes with it. An attorney also has the child's best interest in mind. Therefore, they'll help work out financial settlements and agreements to ensure each party is contributing to their child's needs.
Divorce attorneys are impartial. In a divorce, this is one of the most important things that will help parties get through the difficulties. An attorney helps parties reach amicable agreements, which benefit both sides. And, it also helps create an amicable dissolution of the marriage, so children see their parents getting along. Divorce lawyers also separate assets. So, they won't blend marital assets from the blended family with those from the previous marriage.
Because most people are highly emotional during a divorce, they don't think clearly. They make rash decisions. A divorce attorney will do the difficult thinking and guide judgment making for their client. It's the best approach for coping with divorce intelligently and in a manner that benefits both sides.
Many people who are coping with divorce let it go to their waistline and adversely affect their health. Emotional eating, lack of exercise, and lack of proper physical care take a toll on divorcees. To ensure happiness with a blended family, it's important to take care of oneself physically after divorce. Not only to maintain levels of attractiveness, but also to increase self-worth. People who take care of their body and are healthy, feel better and are emotionally stable. Therefore, when coping with divorce, it's essential to preserve this mentality.
Go to the gym, jog, bike, or do anything enjoyable to let go of the stress. In addition to eliminating stress stemming from the divorce, exercise is beneficial in many other ways. It will help individuals reduce stress, maintain mental clarity, and feel better about themselves. All of this is important when starting a new blended family, and finding happiness with them.
Communicate openly with the kids
Many families tend to hide things from children when going through a divorce. There's no way for kids to understand what's happening if parents do this. Nor is there a way for them to grieve or discuss their frustrations and emotions. Ultimately, this ends up negatively affecting everyone.
Even if the kids are young, discuss what's going on with them. Ask them how they feel. Learn what is upsetting them and find out if they want to talk. Some kids won't know how to express themselves, while others won't want to. However, some kids are going to openly discuss their feelings with parents going through a divorce. No matter what the response is, open discussion is a starting point for positively coping with divorce. It allows all parties to vent out their frustrations, and let go of resentment they're feeling. It also allows everyone to find out how the other parties are feeling. Kids will also enter into a new blended family, feeling a little more comfortable with the situation.
As they get older, most kids understand their parents weren't happy together. In these cases, they'll find coping with divorce a little easier to handle. However, even younger children can understand the complexities of relationships more than most parents give them credit. As parents, coping with divorce is difficult for you. Imagine how tough it is for your kids. Especially knowing a step-family, with new siblings awaits them on the other side. Give them the opportunity to talk about how they feel. Allow them to vent out their frustrations and anger. Respect them and their emotions enough to discuss what's going on, and asking them how they feel about things.
Final Takeaway: Flexibility And Adaptability Are Key When Coping With Divorce
No two situations are alike. One child might do extremely well coping with divorce, while another child in the same family needs more time. Some families seek guidance from therapists. Other families allow their children to choose which parent they prefer to live with fulltime. There's no single solution when it comes to coping with divorce. Nor is there one right, and one wrong way to deal with things.
Every family is unique in its own way, and when introducing blended families into the mix, it further complicates things. Especially if there are younger children, who have to cope with the new changes they don't want. Flexibility, open communicating with the kids, honesty, and friendliness towards the former spouse, is essential when coping with divorce. Understanding that each family differs, and works through situations in different ways will help you get through challenging times. Parents must allow children to vent, grieve, and communicate in their manner when going through these difficulties together. It'll make things easier for everyone and create the most favorable situation possible given the challenges of divorce.