Attachment Styles and Parental Divorce: Everything You Need to Know

Parental divorce

The effects on children of parental divorce are perceptible. They often manifest as disruptions to previously established attachment styles. Intentional and conscious parenting aims to alleviate the unconscious pressure put on children of divorced parents.

After knowing what attachment styles are and how they can change after going through a divorce, you can parent more effectively to reduce psychological distress on your kids. There are preventative measures to take during the divorce to reduce effects. 

The relationship you have with your children before, during, and after the divorce will either reinforce their latent insecurities or comfort their securities. Keep reading to identify parental attachment styles and support your children through the divorce process. 

What Is Attachment Theory?

Attachment is the emotional or psychological bond one has to another person. Infants attach themselves naturally to their parental figures. Attachment is the way in which humans feel and grow their connection with one another. 

Connection is innate to the human condition. A healthy emotional relationship with parents translates to healthy relationships later in life.

According to attachment theory, the emotional response to a caretaker is partially developed for survival. When the primary caretaker is near, the more likely the child will have their needs met. They feel safe with the presence of their primary caregiver. 

In addition to survival, attachment style develops from how the child is being cared for. Attentiveness and nurturance influence attachment style. The ability to focus on and care for your child allows them to feel emotionally safe. This emotional safety is important for their psyche’s way of responding to the outer world. 

If a young one is not properly nurtured, it feels abandoned. This goes beyond having basic needs met. Humans are emotional creatures. Babies and kids need the space to receive love and assurance from their parents. 

Abandonment occurs when their needs have gone ignored. Babies who cry it out at night often feel abandoned. They stop crying because they have given up hope. They feel abandoned, so what is the point anyways?

Through their attachment and connection, they develop how safe they view the world. The kind of responsiveness you give them to their emotional needs shows them how the world will be. If you dismiss them, they feel abandoned. If you comfort and listen to them, they feel validated, important, and safe. 

The theory is a bit complicated. Older generations may not fully grasp the importance of nurturing children emotionally because they may not have been taught that themselves.

What Are The Attachment Styles?

The development that Bowlby and his successors came to find changes how parents can behave to give their kids the best chance at being successful later on. (Bowlby was the founder of Attachment theory).

Before learning ways to positively affect your children during the divorce process, being able to identify attachment styles is important.

Attachment styles are developed during the critical time period following postpartum. As nurturing and comforting behavior coincide with how safe a child will feel, these are the actions that determine a child’s attachment style. Responding to a child’s request for engagement with consistency and attentiveness leads to secure attachment. 

There are typically four types of attachments: ambivalent, avoidant, disorganized, and secure. 

Ambivalent attachment is caused by parents who are unavailable. Children display this by becoming extremely distressed after a parent has left. Children with ambivalent attachment cannot rely on their parental figures for security and safety. 

Avoidant attachment occurs when primary caretakers are neglectful and even otherwise abusive. Children tend to avoid them. They act indifferently in and without their presence. They do not prefer their primary caretaker over a stranger.

Disorganized attachment is seen in children whose parents are inconsistently available. They may sometimes be a source of love and comfort. At other times they may be a source for neglect and unavailability. Children with these types of parents become confused and disoriented. They can act resistant and avoidant when in the company of their caretaker.

Secure attachment is caused by dependable caretakers. Children become distressed when in their absence and joyous when reunited. They are typically wary of strangers. They are not afraid to find comfort with their caretaker and be assured they will return after they leave.

How Parental Divorce Influences Attachment Style 

While attachment styles develop as an infant, they can be revised when traumatic events occur. Kids of divorced parents go through a drastic change in the way they see the world post-divorce. All of a sudden, they are taught that not every couple stays together. 

This sudden instability can cause children to self-sabotage their own relationships. If they feel that all relationships are temporary, even serious ones, they unconsciously or intentionally ruin relationships. This occurs as an attempt to protect themselves from the inevitable fate that the relationship is doomed no matter what.

Their sense of safety is threatened by the added stress of change in living situations. Going back and forth between homes creates a sense of instability in their lives. So when a child may have previously had a secure attachment, this instability could spark a new attachment style.

Depending on how each parent acts, their behavior toward one parent may differ from the other. They may become more attached towards one parent and avoidant towards another. This is entirely dependent on how the divorce process and the time period before the divorce have been portrayed to them. 

When at different parents’ houses, there may be difficult rules to abide by. This results in children having to plan on how their needs will be met instead of having the reassurance that no matter where they are, they will get what they need.

This Is Not To Guilt Trip You

Yes, attachment theory and divorce have an intricate relationship with each other. It’s scary to think that this serious change in your life is affecting the emotional well-being of your kids for their potential futures. But, there are ways in which to avoid having extremely negative effects on your kids’ emotions. 

Parental divorce doesn’t have to be as traumatizing as possible. The way you handle presenting the divorce to your kids has an impact on how they will react emotionally. 

Most parents don’t plan on getting divorced. If it has come to the point where reconciliation is not possible, there are ways to show your kids that the divorce was the best possible outcome for the situation. 

If your kids are older, they may have seen and understood the reasoning for the divorce. They can understand that getting divorced is better than the alternative. Staying together while fighting, bickering, abusing each other, or just generally being unhappy doesn’t teach your kids a good lesson either. 

In fact, staying in a relationship where both parties are being neglected or mistreated teaches your children to settle. So, while a divorce is a hard process and affects your kids, so does the alternative. 

Take comfort in knowing you can actively influence how your kids respond emotionally to the divorce. 

Support Your Kids

Here are the ways that you can comfort your children before, during, and after the divorce. Having a solid emotional relationship with your kid is a good beginning.

If you don’t already have this foundation, find ways to establish one. Connect with your kids outside of the divorce. Be interested in their interests.

Just because you are all experiencing a life change doesn’t mean life has to always be negative. Find ways to find the good in the bad. Uplift each other’s spirits. Have one night where you do an activity to connect.

Planning out time for connection helps so that it doesn’t slip by. Kids appreciate attentiveness beyond infancy. If you are overwhelmed and caught up in your divorce, you might miss this time in your kids’ lives. 

Remember, they will never be the same age they are right now. Enjoy these precious moments with them.

Try having an open dialogue as a great way to share feelings. Do not leave your children to process the divorce by themselves. While they will go through their own experience on their own terms, you can help give them a safe place to feel their emotions. 

How to Consider Attachment While Going Through a Divorce

Encourage your household to have a safe environment to feel grief, pain, hurt, sadness, anger, and any other negative emotions. The only way to the other side of this difficult time is through. By not reprimanding the portrayal of negative emotions, your kids learn that it is perfectly okay to feel how they do.

Remember, this is how a change in attachment style could occur. If they do not feel safe and taken care of in their emotions, their attachment style will change.

If possible, maintaining a cordial relationship with your ex-partner will go a long way. Not all situations make this possible. Communicate with your ex-partner and be on the same terms as far as raising your kids goes. This accounts for any inconsistencies across households. 

Diminishing the number of inconsistencies in rules gives your kids a better chance at having their needs met no matter what.

Try having full transparency when it comes to divulging information to your kids. This honest line of communication helps build their trust levels. If your kids are young, they might not understand the dynamics leading to divorce.

Explaining things honestly gives them a chance at having that understanding. Not every detail needs to be uncovered. Approach telling the story in an unbiased way without sharing details that would harm them.

Don’t put all of the blame on the other spouse. Know that what you say about your ex influences your kids’ relationship with your ex.

Consider Family Therapy

With the emotional support given above, your kids should have a solid foundation to express emotions in a safe way. However, your situation might be more complicated. You may find it hard to manage your own emotions. 

It’s okay. This time is heightened with sensitivity. Seeking help through family therapy may be the thing you need.

Family therapy aims to provide a monitored setting for sharing feelings. Therapists can even see you as a group, but also one-on-one. Seeing family members individually allows people to open up more. 

The goal of family therapy is up to the family. Whatever area you are struggling with, you can work on. You can see a therapist with your ex to work on co-parenting. Or you can see a therapist with your children. 

Therapists help to start a conversation. They are good at asking questions to dive deeper. Kids may not understand their emotions during the divorce process. A therapist can guide them.

Therapists are familiar with attachment theory. They can help you come up with a plan to maintain secure attachments in your children. They can also spot signs of insecure attachments.

It’s nice to have a professional, objective lens. Family therapy isn’t for every family. But, it’s good for those who need additional support. 

You Are Not Alone

Remember that you are not alone. You are not the only people to experience divorce. You are lucky there is so much research on the effects of parental divorce. 

Utilize this research to your advantage. Encourage your children to use the blog linked below as well.

There’s a plethora of information on making everyone feel safe and comfortable during the divorce. For more advice on coping with divorce, check out our blog page.

Divorce With Children: Not One-Size-Fits-All

Divorce With Children

Divorce is undeniably difficult, but when children are involved it becomes infinitely more complex and stressful. When you have children, you will need to communicate with your former spouse for many years after the divorce. While every divorce is different, it’s important to know generally what to expect while navigating a divorce with children. 

Separation and divorce can bring about a lot of unchartered territory for everyone involved. Arming yourself with some information ahead of time can ease the pain at least somewhat. Here are some things to consider when heading down this path.

Breaking the News

Telling your children you’re getting a divorce is no easy task. The best approach in breaking the news of your divorce to your children is to be honest and direct. 

Once you’ve decided to divorce, the first to know should be your children. As much as you may trust family and friends, you don’t want to take the chance that your children find out about your divorce from anyone other than you.

Set aside a time when you can sit down with your children without distractions and in a place where your children will feel most comfortable. It may seem like a good idea to share this news when your children are enjoying a fun event or during a holiday to distract them, but this is not the case. You don’t want them to associate those events with the trauma of your divorce.

Keep it simple. There is no need to go into every ugly detail. The most important thing to convey is that this decision will not affect how much you love and care for your children. They will need to know what will be different about their lives and what will stay the same. 

Hearing that your parents will no longer be living under the same roof is a traumatic and life-changing experience for children. It’s important that you assure them that you love them no matter what.  Go over everything with the other parent in advance so that when it comes time to tell your children you’re already well-informed with a plan in place.

The Process

Once you’ve decided to separate from your spouse, there may be a period of time before you’re actually able to officially divorce. During this time, one of the biggest decisions you will make will be settling the custody of the children.

In many cases, parents can come to an agreement as to how the custody arrangements will work. In cases of conflict where the parents cannot come to a mutually agreeable understanding, mediators can help find a solution that will work for everyone. In extreme cases, the matter can be taken before a judge.

There are many different ways parents can share custody of their children. The important thing is to find a schedule that keeps the needs of the children before the wishes and wants of everyone else. There are resources available to help you choose a path that’s right for you. 

Children First

No matter what your relationship is with your former spouse, you should both agree that your children’s emotional and physical well-being should always come first. This process is going to be difficult enough for your children without them having to deal with parents who are constantly arguing.

There are several things you should avoid when dealing with children after a divorce. Never argue or belittle your former spouse in front of the children. If you find it difficult to communicate peacefully, make sure you take it far away from the earshot of your kids. 

Never use your children as messengers or ask them to act as a go-between for you and the other parent. This causes the children to feel like they are expected to take sides between two people they love a great deal. In a similar vein, never grill your child for information regarding the other parent. 

Being civil may be the last thing you’re in the mood to do, but for the sake of your children, it is essential that you put aside your differences and choose the paths that will serve their interests best, even if it means swallowing pride. While there are no one-size-fits-all solutions, keeping the children’s needs above everything else should be your primary goal.

Co-Parenting

Though you are no longer married, you are still parents and always will be. First and foremost you will need to establish open communication about schedules, vacations, and other relevant information. 

Children thrive on routine and predictability. As much as is possible, keep their regular mealtimes, bedtimes, and other schedules unchanged from your house to theirs. 

It can be tempting for both parents to be a lot more lenient or to overindulge their children after the divorce. While it’s important to be understanding of the turmoil your kids are facing, maintaining rules and discipline will actually go a long way in making them feel more secure. 

Also, staying consistent with rules and discipline between both houses will help your children know exactly what is expected of them. Keeping this sense of normalcy for them will help them adjust to their new life. 

Another thing to consider will be holidays and who will have the kids for which ones. It’s best to have a schedule laid out in advance so there’s no confusion or added anxiety. Many parents will simply swap from year to year.

With proper planning, there’s no reason that your new traditions won’t become just as special as the old ones. 

Managing busy schedules for your kids can be a hassle even for parents who are still married. This can be especially difficult after a divorce. Many parents find that using a co-parenting app can help manage communication and scheduling. 

Working together to put the children first in spite of your differences will also set an example for your kids on how to manage conflict and resolve issues peacefully.

Shared Costs

Even though you’re no longer living in the same home, you will still need to share the costs of raising the children. Things like food and shelter may be addressed in child support, but there are other things that will arise where you will likely need to split the cost. 

Items like shoes and clothing will be an ongoing issue since your children will be constantly growing. At one point all of their clothes resided in one place. Now that you are living separately, you may find that you’ll both need more clothing at your place so your children will have plenty to wear.

Activities like sports, music lessons, and equipment that come with these activities can start to add up if only one parent is paying. Keep all receipts related to these expenses and choose a time periodically to go over how much each parent has spent so that the costs can be equally divided. 

Other things like doctor visits, orthodontics, or other fees will need to be discussed ahead of time as well. Putting together an expense budget or parenting plan may help take the stress out of communicating about money.

Counseling

In many cases, parents and children alike will need some help processing all of the emotions that come with a divorce. For parents, this can provide a useful place to take their frustrations about the divorce. Having a healthy outlet for all the emotion that comes with divorce can mean you can guide your children through their grief. 

For older children, the process of going through a divorce can bring about a host of issues. It’s not uncommon for children to act out or perform poorly in school. It can be a good idea to have them see a professional counselor to help them work through their thoughts and feelings about the divorce. 

Watching their parents go through the process of ending a marriage can cause emotions in your children that they cannot define or understand. With the help of a therapist, you can help them put words to what they are feeling. When these emotions are defined, they can be handled in a healthy and productive way. 

Helping children cope with divorce is a difficult process, so there is a great benefit to seeking out counseling.

Seek immediate help when you see the problems in your children or yourself worsen over time. If your child is acting in violent ways or threatening to hurt themselves or others, it is crucial to get them help as soon as possible.

The same is true for you. If the feelings of depression significantly interfere with your ability to care for yourself or if you begin to have thoughts of suicide, reach out to a professional immediately. You don’t need to go through this season alone.  

Outside Help

Sometimes divorce comes with feelings of extreme hostility between the parents. When it’s impossible for the parents to communicate effectively for the benefit of the children it may be necessary to call in mediators to help you decide what’s best for your kids. 

Though this type of help will come with added cost, it may be worth the expense to help you get started on the process of laying out a new normal for everyone. After some time has passed and wounds have healed, you can try again to communicate with each other one on one. 

The most important thing is to protect your children from any hostility that lies between you and the other parent. Putting them first before your own feelings will minimize the trauma and stress they will go through. 

Take Care of Yourself

There is a good reason why airlines tell you to put on your own oxygen mask before you help your children. You can hardly be of any use to them if you’re struggling to breathe yourself. 

Going through a period of depression is completely natural after the end of a marriage. That’s why it’s more important than ever to pay attention to your physical and emotional needs. 

Eating a healthy diet, drinking water, and getting plenty of exercise is always good advice. These things are even more important when you’re going through a time of stress. 

If you are sharing custody with your former spouse, times without your children can be a good time to focus on hobbies and activities you enjoy. It may feel strange to be without your children initially, but you can use that time to engage with friends, travel, garden, or anything you’ve been wanting to do but haven’t found the time. 

It’s also quite normal to feel lonely after a divorce. This is a time to be sure you are leaning on family and friends for support. 

Even very small things like having a regularly scheduled outing with friends or taking a daily walk can boost your mood and fight feelings of depression. When you are feeling healthy you are even more capable of helping your children through their struggles. 

Divorce with Children

Divorce can be a painful and traumatic event for everyone involved. When it comes to making sure your children navigate this process in a healthy way, there is no such thing as being overprepared. 

There are many resources and apps that can help you along the way. For help with scheduling and communication, check out the 2houses app.

During this time, it is important to know that you are not alone. With the help of counselors, mediators, apps, family, and friends, you can eventually find your way to a new normal. 

My Parents Are Divorcing. How Do I Cope?

My parents are divorcing

When it comes to the relationship between divorce and children, parents breaking up can impact kids psychologically, emotionally, physically, and academically. When children are young, it is important for parents to learn how to explain divorce to children and how to help their children cope.

However, teenagers and adults who have divorcing parents might be searching on their own for information on coping with divorce. For these different stages in life, learning how to deal with your parent’s divorce might look a bit different whether you’re still living under your parent’s roof or if you have transitioned into adulthood.

In both cases, though, it’s important for you to learn how to identify, experience, and validate your own emotions as a part of the healing process. It is easy for both teens and adults to suppress their emotions that stem from such a difficult occurrence, however, this can have a number of psychological and physiological consequences.

Are you wondering how to cope when you’re parents are getting a divorce? Let’s take a look at what you need to know.

Coping With Divorce as a Teenager

The teenage years are often a time of high emotions, with so much going on with friends, relationships, and school. Many teens are already feeling stress during this time, and parents divorcing or problems in the home can amplify that.

Here are some important things to remember when your parents are getting divorced.

It’s Not Your Fault and It Never Was

As a teenager, watching your parent’s relationship and can be one of the most difficult things you will go through. Even though this can be a very hard time, you never want to forget that it is not your fault. Relationships can be incredibly complicated, and your parents are separating because of issues between them and not to do with you.

It is easy to worry that things that you did or didn’t do led to your current situation. However, there is nothing that you could have done to change the outcome of your parent’s relationship.

You’re Not Their Messenger

Unfortunately, some parents will use their children as a messenger to share information between homes. This is not your responsibility, and you should not be put in the position of being their go-between. It is your parent’s responsibility to figure out how to communicate with each other in a way that does not involve you.

Validate Your Emotions, Don’t Suppress Them

When you find out that your parents are getting a divorce, there are a lot of different emotions that you might feel. Maybe you feel angry, confused, sad, or maybe you even feel relieved if your parents were always fighting. No matter how you feel about the situation, it is absolutely crucial that you validate your emotions.

Feeling guilty about the emotion you’re having won’t accomplish anything and will only cause more pain and discomfort for you. Many teenagers might be tempted to suppress their emotions because they are worried that there is something wrong with them. However, allowing yourself to experience your emotions and vent them is essential to your mental health.

When people suppress their emotions, they often find ways to vent these emotions. This might lead to issues like overeating or abusing alcohol or drugs. Self-destructive behavior like this will only make the situation worse, and if you’ve found yourself coping in this type of way it’s important to get professional counseling right away.

Emotions will always be a part of life. It is important that we learn to accept, experience, and validate our motion in order to leave the healthiest life possible.

Find New Ways of Dealing With Stress

You may have never dealt with as much stress as you are now that your parents are getting divorced. If you haven’t had to figure out how to handle stress in the past, you might be feeling unequipped for the situation you’re going through.

There are a lot of different things that you can do for stress management. Everyone is different, and you can experiment with what works for you. Lots of people, though, are able to find hobbies that they enjoy that assist them in getting through times that are tough.

Here are some popular stress management hobbies and techniques:

  • Journaling
  • Running
  • Yoga
  • Hiking
  • Doing puzzles
  • Cooking
  • Coloring
  • Knitting, crocheting, or quilting
  • Spending time with your pet
  • Playing sports
  • Breathing exercises
  • Art projects
  • Socializing with friends

While you can’t change the fact that your parent’s getting divorced is causing stress in your life, you can adopt stress management techniques that help you cope with it.

Divorce can obviously be quite stressful for parents, too. If you’ve been experiencing anxiety as a co-parent, check out these five tips to help you cope.

Communicate With Your Parents

When you’re parents are getting a divorce, you might not feel particularly compelled to tell your parents how you are feeling. However, it’s important that you don’t keep your feelings from them during this time. Share with them what you’re going through emotionally so that they can understand how the divorce is affecting you.

You shouldn’t be scared or ashamed to tell your parents that you’re feeling sad or angry about the divorce. Some teens might worry that doing so will make their parents feel bad. However, your parents want to know how you’re doing and it’s their responsibility to be there for you.

Talk to Your Close Friends

Sometimes it can be good to talk to those who are close to you that are beyond your family. Your closest friends want the best for you and want to know what’s going on in your life. When you’re parents are going through a divorce, talk with your best friends and tell them what you’ve been going through.

It can be hard to talk about these things, and maybe you don’t want to talk about your parents divorce with all of your friends. However, confiding in your closest friends can be a very healthy way to deal with and vent your emotions, keeping you healthier and happier and avoiding the outcome of suppressing emotions.

Consider Talking to an Expert

It can feel odd to talk to a professional therapist or counselor at first. However, it can be very helpful to have someone to listen to you and talk things out with during this time. They can offer tips or insights to help you manage your emotions, and otherwise provide a safe place where you can talk about how you feel.

Relationships can be complicated, and there are some things that you might not feel comfortable telling your parents or your close friends. While it’s good to be open and honest with those around you, it is certainly understandable if you feel hesitant to be completely open about how you’re feeling. Therapists can be a great tool in this type of circumstance, to help you explore how you are feeling and decide how to communicate that honestly with the people in your life.

How to Deal With Your Parent’s Divorce as an Adult

Even though the divorce rate in the US is on the decline, there is one demographic where divorce is on the rise. Surprisingly, this group is people over the age of 50.

Commonly referred to as “gray divorces,” we are now at a point where one in four people that are getting divorced in the United States are in this older demographic.

There are a number of different factors that are thought to contribute to this rise in divorce at an older age. These include the fact that divorce is more socially acceptable, that women are more financially independent, and that people are living longer.

It is also common for parents to wait to end their marriage until their kids have left the house. The thought process behind this is that adult children will be better able to deal with their parent’s relationship unraveling. While this can be true in some ways and it can certainly be better for children to have a stable home environment when they’re growing up, that doesn’t mean that divorce can’t be devastating and confusing to adult children.

Many adult children whose parents are getting divorced might assume that it shouldn’t be a big deal for them. However, this is a major life transition for them, too, as it impacts the structure of their family forever. Let’s take a look at some divorce tips for adult children.

Understand That Your Experiences and Feelings Are Valid

Everyone is going to have a different experience when their parents are getting a divorce. Some adult children might be struck with relief, happy that their unhappy parents are finally moving on from an unhealthy relationship. On the other hand, though, it can be devastating to have your family structure change and feel as though it’s in dissolution, which is absolutely a valid way to feel.

No matter how you feel, the important thing is to validate your feelings and experiences. As adults, sometimes we think we know how we should feel about certain occurrences. However, our feelings aren’t dictated by what we think should happen rationally, and so it’s important to recognize how you actually feel versus how you think it would be most mature and ideal for you to feel.

Know That You’re Not Alone

As mentioned earlier, divorces between adults over the age of 50 are on the rise. While this may or may not be comforting, it can help to understand that you aren’t alone in this situation.

Some research surrounding this phenomenon finds that roughly half of the adult children of older divorcees report negative experiences and feelings. Conflicted feelings lead about half of them to withdraw from their parents. Luckily, within about five years most of these estranged parents and children will reconcile, according to the research.

Acknowledge Your Grief

You can lose so many things when your parents get divorced, even if you’re an adult and no longer living at home. You might find that your extended family is no longer intact, it can change the structure of your support systems, and it can alter your dreams about future family celebrations, rituals, and traditions.

Acknowledging your grief is an important step in this process. You should feel free to share the fact that you are grieving these losses with your family and friends. You should be allowed time to mourn this loss and accept so that you can heal, and communicating this need with family and friends can help give you the space you need.

Set Boundaries That Work For You

Adult children of divorcing parents can feel caught in the middle when there are conflict or issues. As an adult, you can set boundaries that make it clear that you don’t want to participate in being a messenger, middleman, therapist, surrogate spouse, or any other kind of unhealthy or unnecessary role.

If you want to have a relationship with both parents, make it clear that you love them both and want to maintain a healthy relationship with both of them. Rather than fulfilling unhealthy roles for your parents, it’s important that you insist that they get the help they need elsewhere.

You can also request that your parents keep their personal issues out of family and celebratory events. There is no need for holidays and celebrations to be traumatic events ad infinitum, and it’s important that both parents be able to participate in the family without making it about their personal scuffles.

If you’re getting divorced, check out these five tips to help you deal with the stress.

Divorce and Children: Finding Resources to Help Everyone Cope

Many people involved in a divorce or with divorcing parents might feel ashamed or even inconvenienced by their emotions and experience. However, it’s absolutely essential that you prioritize your mental health during this time to help you get through what is understandable a very difficult experience.

You don’t have to go through this alone and should seek the help of supportive family, friends, and healthcare professionals. There are countless resources available online and elsewhere to help you learn how best to cope with divorce.

If you’re looking for more resources that have to do with divorce and children, check out the library of information available on the 2houses blog.

5 Things Children Should Know Before Parents’ Divorce

Parents'divorce

This matter of divorce does not require much of an introduction because nowadays, this matter is getting very common and, people are getting familiar with it. Divorce usually refers to the end of a messed up or a painful marriage by any legal process. As time is passing, this matter is getting extremely common in society. The majority of people have experienced this issue through themselves, as a partner or children, or through knowing someone who has gone through it as a spouse or as children. And as common as this matter seems, it does bring many problems and create dilemmas both physically and mentally in families and children.

When some parents are taking a divorce, it is equally necessary for them to think about their children’s physical and mental health because it can affect them in various ways. And, before separation, they should discuss this matter with their children in detail and make sure that they are picking a suitable time in which both of them are together, so that it may show that they have made the decision together. Moreover, they should consider choosing a time in which children are relaxed to talk and ask questions because the children must be well aware of the circumstances of what’s going to happen and when it’s going to happen. Also, they should try to be a little nicer with children if they are getting divorced, for instance, bring a dog or cat for children, buy a dog house, place it on the lawn, and let kids spend time with a pet so they won’t overthink about this matter. Because it can affect their mental health and being a parent, they should care about it.

There are some laws of divorce but, before that court requires a legal reason for the divorce. Some of the reasons why divorce happens are usually because of a lack of communication and commitment, financial issues, lack of intimacy, abusive and violent behavior and, so and so forth.

So here are few things which children should know before parents divorce or few things which parents can clarify to their children before divorce:

1. Children should know the reason behind divorce:

The first and foremost point is that children should be well aware of the reason for divorce. They must know that they are not responsible for it, and their parents have tried their level best to maintain the relationship for their sake still, they are not competent to stay together and, splitting is the only option. They must know that they are not responsible; otherwise, they will feel unnecessary guilt and embarrassment about their parent’s divorce that will affect their health in various ways. So, parents must make it very clear to their children that they did not cause the divorce.

2. Divorce is not between parent and child:

The second important thing which children should know about divorce is that parents do not divorce their children. Parents should clarify to their kids that separation or divorce is for grown-ups and not between parents and their children. Because sometimes, some children whose parents are getting a divorce start to think that their parents are about to abandon them and their relationship with their parents will end after divorce, but that is not true. Moreover, parents should provide awareness to their kids so that they may not develop these negative thoughts.  And, also they should know that even if their parents are living in separate homes, they will still be their parents and will love them as they have always done.

3. Change in everyday routine:

The third important thing which parents must tell their children and, to help them through is that children don’t mix up their everyday routine with divorce. Otherwise, this will affect other aspects of their lives. They should know that even if they had to switch homes, they should also maintain their school, dinner, and other routines.

4. Emotional support:

selective focus photography of golden Labrador retriever

The fourth important thing which children should know before parents divorce is that whatever the circumstances are, their parents will always love them, and they are always there for them. Because most of the time, parents are so involved in the issue of divorce that they forget about their children’s physical and mental health. Children must be well aware that even if the parents are separated, their love and care for their kids will not change. And it’s okay for them to love both of their parents. Because at the time of divorce, kids often become more sensitive, and they need their parent’s attention more than ever. And they should know that with time everything will get better.

5. Child’s custody:

The fifth step is sufficient for both parents and children. Before-after a divorce, both parents want to or try to gain their children’s custody which isn’t the right way. If the children are young and sensible enough then, they must be equally aware of the rules and laws after divorce. And they should be given authority to stay connected with both of the parents even after separation. Children must know these details before the divorce. So, they may not get disheartened because they love both the parents equally and, it’s hard for them to choose one parent over the other.

Anxious Co-Parent? 5 Tips To Cope With Your Anxiety

Anxious coparent

Family is one of the essential parts of your life and the sole source of motivation. Due to interpersonal conflicts, you may need to break cords with your partner and move ahead. But, the co-parenting responsibilities might impose a hurdle in the path of moving on and doing better. While you owe a good education and the utmost care to your child, bearing an interaction with your ex can feel like a nightmare. With the right tips and suitable measures, you can beat the anxiety that comes from talking to your ex now and then.

Here are the tips for coping up with your anxiety while co-parenting and taking care of your child.

1.  Identify Your Triggers

One of the most important causes of anxiety is the frequent triggers you face after meeting your ex-partner. It could be anything, ranging from an event or a situation, that makes you react impulsively. Also, identification of the possible triggers can minimize the after-effects and ease your anxiety. Challenge your thoughts and try to overcome the feeling to beat the anxious thoughts. The moment you feel your heart racing, practice breathing exercises to calm your nerves down. Such measures can help you tackle the triggers without giving in to the negative thoughts.

With time, your mind is likely to stop reacting to the triggers and curb the panic attacks. If communicating with your ex for a long time causes distress, you can establish the much-needed boundaries.

2.  Cut The Call As Soon As Possible

The initial days of your divorce can be pretty vulnerable and challenging. During these times, you need to minimize the communication in several ways to move on. Co-parenting doesn’t allow you to cut off cords completely and stop talking altogether. But, you can stick to short calls and discuss the business without deviating from the topic of discussion. Try to control your emotions and step back before giving in to the heat of the moment. Also, you can try other ways of communication like emails or texts. It gives you adequate time to think, process, and react in the right manner.

Such small measures can help you tackle the anxiety and deal with the triggers. Along with this, it reduces the chances of your child hearing things that they shouldn’t as of now. Make sure to limit communication and stick to the established boundaries to prevent anxiety. If the anxiety gets over your life, you can resort to the red malay kratom to uplift the mood.

3.  Be Flexible

Co-parenting is full of unexpected plans and never-ending compromises between you and your partner. You must remain flexible to changes in plans and unforeseen delays. Also, try to sort out the timings with your ex-partner in an effective manner. While your ex gets to stay with the baby for new year’s night, you can keep your kid for Christmas dinner. Such compromises go a long way in managing the co-parenting deal and allow you to spend adequate time with your child. Not to forget, it can help manage the financial and emotional needs of your child.

Always expect the unexpected and make the most of the little time you get with your baby. Preach to settle for the best ways that help in molding your child’s future and provide a balanced upbringing.

4.  Seek Professional Guidance

Divorce and co-parenting can be exhausting for your body as well as the mind. Hence, you may experience anxiety and burnout more often than before. In case the situation goes out of your hand, don’t hesitate to seek professional psychiatric support. You can try consulting a marriage coach to discuss your issues and vent your heart out. Try to remain calm and composed in front of your child as well as your ex-partner. Instead, you can talk your heart out with the psychologist and seek the required support.

Your marriage coach will guide you throughout the process and help take care of the triggers. That way, you can take control of your personal life and the responsibilities as a co-parent. Don’t forget to ask for a day off from the duties if the burden gets too much to handle.

5.  Try To Consider Your Child’s Perspective

Anxious co-parent

Breaking the relationship can feel like a significant trauma and evoke a feeling of hatred towards your ex-partner. But, you must try to let the negative feelings go and consider the situation from your child’s place. Healthy upbringing involves the support of both the parents in every aspect. Hence, your child needs your ex as much as you in the growing-up process. Empathizing towards your child can be a great way to overcome the negative feelings towards your ex. Also, it can ease the triggers and help you be a responsible co-parent for your little one.

Final Thoughts

Anxiety and stress are inevitable during the co-parenting days due to communication with your ex-partner. But, you can ease the triggers and manage the responsibility with simple tips and tricks. Try to identify the situations or discussions or trigger the anxiety attacks. Also, you can establish boundaries and set a few modes of communication to avoid unnecessary arguments. You might want to seek professional support and be flexible with your schedule. See the situation from your child’s perspective and realize that the kid needs both the parents during the growth phase. Such measures and realizations can help you tackle the co-parenting stage like a grown-up parent.

Custody Schedule and Father’s Day

Custody and father's day

Custody schedules work well until they don’t. No schedule is foolproof. Even Father’s Day sees alterations.

Most changes are due to everyone’s desire to help with your kid’s events or planned activities.

Have you ever wished you had an app that could handle the process?

An app with functions that allow you to send your ex-spouse and kids a schedule change request. And, having it automated from your calendar.

The good news is that the 2houses app automates change requests so you can get quick answers.

This feature is sure to simplify your communication with your ex-spouse. It will also keep the kids happy knowing that mom and dad are working together on their behalf.

Keep reading to learn more about how to keep your Father’s Day intact regardless of any schedule changes.

Sharing Father’s Day With Your Kids

No matter what your current schedule looks like, it might change if you want to share Father’s Day with your kids. It is important that both parents get equal time with the kids over the holiday. After all, Father’s Day in some families is also about the kid’s granddads.

If you’re fighting for more time, you need to do so in a way that makes the kids feel like they’re part of the solution. You don’t want to be the bad guy when it comes to considerations for Father’s Day. Take time to make sure you understand how your kids want to celebrate.

Kids need their mom and dad to have a good time. You may have family or friends visit your home on Father’s Day, and they may not know this need. You don’t want anyone taking sides against either parent during a holiday.

Instead, you want everyone to hold a positive viewpoint for the sake of the kids. You even hope they are proactive in facilitating the kids connecting with their dad.

Connecting With Dad

It is important for kids to connect with their dad during Father’s Day. This might be a few hours for dinner or the entire weekend. The key is making sure the kids get to share their input.

It is important for the kids to take part when deciding on dates and times for visiting with dad.

If the ex-spouse makes other plans to visit their dad, consider working out time for a phone call. Kids can also spend valuable time with dad through Facetime, Skype, and other media tools. Regardless of the venue or format of communication, the kids must be able to visit in a heartfelt manner.

Free to Be Them

The kids might need enough privacy so they can get goofy without anyone making comments. They need to experience the freedom to be themselves in a different manner with mom and dad.

Or, your kid might want to sing a special song and needs to be in an environment that is judgment-free. Scheduling time for your kid’s parental relationships is important to building their self-confidence.

When we allow our kids to express themselves in a personal manner to either parent, they need to feel secure. To help ease that sense of freedom, consider putting the focus on the kids.

Focus on the Kids

When your ex-spouse is reluctant and only allows for a short visit, keep it simple. Focus on your kids and make sure they understand how important they are in your life. Do not put your kids in the middle of the scheduling conflict.

The worst-case scenario is establishing a special time with the kids later in the week. You can turn the late Father’s Day event into a time of affirmation. After all, there wouldn’t be a reason to celebrate if the kids weren’t a part of dad’s life.

The kids will feel loved knowing both parents support their need to spend time with dad. That demonstration of parental unity will empower the kids. They will learn that it is okay for them to love both dad and mom equally.

This holds true even when the custody schedule isn’t equal.

Custody Schedule

Custody schedules are great if you use them efficiently with a plan. The problem arises when the scheduling system doesn’t fit your lifestyle. The biggest culprit challenging your plan is the wonderful, yet unexpected opportunity.

All schedules include activities that don’t always follow an exact schedule.

To add to the confusion, few are able to change custody-based temporary schedules. Making changes is difficult until the parents settle the permanent parenting plan. Another consideration is the changes that happen at various ages.

Your Kids Needs Will Change

The kids tend to lose out during this period. This can put undue stress on them. Both mom and dad must find a way to address the kid’s needs in a non-confrontational manner.

Regardless of the judge’s final approval of the parenting plan, schedules will still change. Your kids’ lives will continue to evolve, as will their schedules. Consider reading more about these issues in similar posts.

To reduce the conflict, you’ll need a tool that speeds up and simplifies schedule alterations. The 2houses app streamlines all communication regarding the custody schedule.

Tweaking the Schedule

Start by putting your agreed-upon custody schedule in the app. When an opportunity that drives change comes up, send a message within the app. Inform your ex-spouse when you need your kids for a specific reason.

If your ex-spouse is onboard with the tool, the response is quick and easy. The app will notify you once the response to your request is complete. There’s no need to be afraid of an automated system. This co-parenting app does not intrude on your parenting techniques.

The app helps ease parenting problems, especially when you don’t know how to talk about them.

It’s a wonderful app and allows for non-confrontational communications. It even works to support those last-second issues when important opportunities pop up. To make sure nothing is missed due to the changes, the app can send everyone in the family reminders.

What About Schedule Changes?

Submit a request for the time change to the parent in charge of the child at the time. In a situation where you don’t know who this is, you can request an alert and a link to the schedule change. In the event the schedule needs to change, it will notify you by email.

There are options for how the schedule is changed, too. This includes a timer that can be set to run for a certain length of time. You can adjust the schedule on a weekly, monthly or annual basis. You also have the option of a full-page download of the calendar and a summary of your kid’s schedule.

The 2houses app can help a separated parent stay connected. The dashboard offers an easy-to-use method to customize the interface. Life gets easier once everyone uses the app for schedules and related communications.

A Technical View

Let’s say you want to send your ex-spouse relevant information. You’d first go to Settings>Timeline and make a note. Then you’d go to Calendar>Timeline and add in the dates, events, and activities. Finally, select Edit and drag the calendar date to where you want it on the schedule.

You can then select Done and your changes are complete.

How Apps Simplify Your Life

Explaining changes to your ex-spouse becomes a chore when your schedule gets busy. All too often one parent might choose to leverage that precarious moment to inflict hurt. A tool like the 2houses app takes the emotional element out of the mix.

Change requests become a familiar and more accommodating process. The app inspires parents to focus on the kids when managing the schedule. It may even change the atmosphere to one of cooperation.

This keeps the kids out of conflict and can reduce emotional triggers.

The Process

Change requests are saved to the appropriate account. This means you won’t have to always ask your ex-spouse to approve a change. When your ex-spouse is cooperative, change requests fast and free of incident.

You can also set up an alert to notify you as soon as your ex-spouse responds. The 2houses app drives civility, which may have been lost during a heated divorce. It also allows you both to regain some level of respect for each other. The type of respect you give to a co-parent addressing changes with the kid’s best interest at heart.

You’ll want to review any changes that alter the parenting agreement. You’ll have to decide what changes are appropriate or may impact long-term decisions. Once you are content with the change requests, you can submit them to the calendar.

Get Your Kids Input

If you wonder about tips for managing a calendar, the app works best when the kids have access. When they feel like the calendar is theirs, they will take responsibility for its content. This shared calendar will also make a great tool for the family to stay cordial with each other.

With full access, the kids can input their school, clubs, and sporting activities. The calendar is ideal for when your kid decides to try out for a sport or musical theatre. They’ll be able to enter the entire schedule for both mom and dad to review.

Within a few minutes, a healthy resolved calendar emerges.

The 2houses app takes the burden off of your shoulders. It saves you time, energy, and peace of mind. It also protects your kids by showing you what they need.

This gained knowledge will help you stay on top of your parenting decisions.

The Best of Solutions

You can start using the 2houses app before your parenting plan is in place. This will help everyone to better understand the civility of the process. They will also see how things are actually playing out.

The app tends to reduce the emotional angst arising from negotiations. This results in everyone seeing what works for the kids and what doesn’t. That gained knowledge tends to make all parents fairer about schedules.

The 2houses app can be a document that tracks official change requests as required. This digital solution will also help you find any change-related problems. Once caught, you can tweak the schedule to help the kids.

In essence, the app becomes a neutral territory for negotiating schedule changes.

Quality Time With Your Kids

Scheduling is all about making quality time with your kids. Changing plans and rescheduling the activities can make for a long weekend. You’ll be able to spot patterns with the 2houses app.

The patterns will help you give your kids the benefit of the doubt with their scheduling needs.

Busyness is no longer a negative thing when you can make everyone’s schedule more cohesive. Your kids will see your interest in them as you alter things to make sure time together is well spent. They’ll also appreciate their ability to populate the calendar with their desires.

Scheduling video calls with your kids is now easier than ever. The 2houses app has the ability to schedule phone calls and Skype sessions. The app can notify you when it’s time to launch your planned call.

Making Father’s Day Work

The 2houses app will help you share a preliminary custody schedule before mediation. The format allows for rapid changes so you and your ex-spouse can settle faster than expected. As a practical matter, your kids shouldn’t be in a constant state of flux when it comes to their schedules.

Having your custody schedule set ahead of time will keep both you and your ex-spouse happy. You’ll both stay happy when the app facilitates surprise opportunities for you around the holidays. Register for the 2houses app and keep scheduling strains away from the family with this co-parenting app.Ask about order

How Can Parental Separation Impact Language Development?

parental separation

Children can develop intense anxiety or insecurities when they are in traumatic or stressful situations. such as: 

  • Living in a high conflict environment (e.g., parents frequently fighting, yelling, etc.)
  • Loss of daily contact with a parent (e.g., one parent moves out)
  • Having to quickly adjust to a new life-style (e.g., child quickly moves out of home) 

When these instances happen, kids may become withdrawn to shut out the unpleasant situations or to hide the feelings they experience. Some children may feel shame or feel as though they are at fault. These feelings can become bottled up inside, leading to further withdrawal or anxiety. The feelings may be overwhelming and the child may be unsure what to do or how to express them. 

A child may decline to interact with the parent who has moved out. They may not talk to other family members, withdraw from their friends etc. Children adopt coping mechanisms such as withdrawal for protection from rejection and feelings of inadequacy. 

Developing language problems can follow when children withdraw, hide, keep their feelings in, or decline to interact with others. 

Developing Speech and Language Problems Also Depends on Other Factors

In addition to the parental situation, a child’s age, gender, socioeconomic status, and the number of siblings they have can also impact language development. 

Additionally, while research suggests that divorce or separation can affect a child’s language skills, the extent depends on various other factors.For instance, talking to your children openly about the changing family situation and welcoming questions takes away some fear and anxiety. But, even an explained absence of a parent can be very stressful for a small child, possibly causing  them to shut down. 

Parents Will Want to Handle the Separation Carefully

Although it is hard to work through your disagreements in the early days of the separation, you want to protect your kids and create an atmosphere of love and support. Easing the children gently into the new family lifestyle helps. As an example you may need to tell them that now daddy will be driving them to school or taking them to doctors’ appointments. Or they may need to know that they will be  spending every other week with each parent. It is helpful if everyday activities like reading to the kids at bedtime maintain normalcy and security. Research indicates that children benefit from consistency in their daily lives. 

Both Parents Should Contribute to Supporting Children’s Development

During or after separation, both parents need to be supportive to the child and be on the look out for any delays which may suggest the need for an evaluation:

Children should be developing the following skills between ages two and three:

  • stringing two to three words into sentences 
  • learning to say their first name
  • identifying themselves with the word “I”
  • dressing up
  • jumping in one place
  • learning to write by drawing vertical lines and circles
  • coloring

If you notice delays, please schedule an evaluation to have your child’s needs assessed. If you are in the United States you can request an evaluation at your child’s school, early intervention office, or at a private clinician’s office such as a developmental pediatrician, speech-language pathologist, child psychologist, neurologist, etc.   

Focus on Balancing Living in Two Homes

Therapy can be more challenging when kids are spending time between two households. Parents can help by making an effort to coordinate sessions and keep each other updated about the child’s progress. Parents can use a shared platform where they can communicate with the therapist to get instructions on how to practice sounds and continue with any other exercises. Considering that speech therapy works best with repetition, both parents should stay informed about the sessions. 

The effects of parental separation do not need to get in the way of your child’s cognitive development or language abilities. Parents should offer love and support and focus on raising children responsibly, even if they’re growing up in two different households. 

This article was written in collaboration with Better Speech. Better Speech has helped thousands of children and families. They are committed to providing affordable, convenient, and effective online speech therapy for kids and adults. Their clients are matched with the best therapist for their needs and get affordable therapy at the comfort of their home, when it’s convenient for them (even on weekends or evenings). 

What Does Gaslighting Look Like?

Gaslighting

In the US alone, a couple gets divorced about every 36 seconds. This amounts to 2,400 divorces each day. If you’re going through a tough time, you can at least know that you’re far from alone!

One of the common reasons for divorce is emotional abuse. Navigating this dynamic between yourself and your abuser can make an already difficult situation even trickier. However, in order to navigate it, you’ll need to first figure out whether or not your situation truly is one of gaslighting.

That’s why we’re here today to talk about gaslighting, what it looks like, and how you can get help. Read on for some help in identifying whether you’re a victim of gaslighting and what you can do to overcome your pain. 

What Is Gaslighting?

In the simplest terms, gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse that has to do with making the victim question their sanity. The abuser slowly and covertly will plant seeds of doubt in the mind of the victim. This will cause the victim to believe that they are misremembering things or making up things that didn’t happen.

Generally, this abuse tactic is a way for the abuser to remain in control. They make light of the victim’s beliefs and reassert that the gaslighter is stable while the victim is not.

One of the main gaslighting tactics is denying that something has occurred. For example, if the victim remembers the gaslighter saying or doing something harmful, the abuser may deny that this happens. They will convince the victim that they’re misremembering things and being a bad person that paints the gaslighter negatively.

If the abuser doesn’t flat-out deny that these situations happened, they may belittle the victim in other ways. A gaslighter may treat you like you’re blowing events out of proportion. They want you to think that your emotional reactions are too intense and that you are crazy for ‘overreacting.’

Sometimes, an abuser will stage dramatic and strange events surrounding you and your relationship. These events are meant to disorient and confuse you. Many times the abuser will also swoop in and ‘save’ you from this event that they caused in the first place. They will use this occurrence to prove that they are actually a nice person and are the only thing standing between you and more problems.

What Are Some Examples of Gaslighting?

Gaslighting comes in a lot of forms. However, the main examples of gaslighting come in the form of things that an abuser tells you. Some common examples of things that a gaslighter says include:

  • “You’re overreacting, you overreact to everything.”
  • “You just love to throw me off track.”
  • “I was just joking! You’re so sensitive.”
  • “You always are so dramatic.”
  • “No one believes you, so why should I?”

All of these phrases are red flags that gaslighting may be taking place.

Another example of gaslighting is when an abuser flat-out lies to you about a situation that happened.

For example, let’s say that your partner orders something online with a credit card that you never said they could use. They may say something like “you said I could borrow it and pay you back later, so I did.”

If you try to tell them they’re misremembering, they will become angry. You may not say anything at all. If you do, they may become angry and yell at you. This can cause you to question whether or not you actually remember things correctly.

Some gaslighting may seem like less of a big deal.

Let’s say that your partner loves brownies, so you decide to be nice and surprise them with a homemade batch. Your partner gets home and says, “I don’t really like brownies, but I do love cookies! That must be what you’re remembering. Well, next time!”

This may seem like a minor occurrence, but it’s part of a painful pattern. Your gaslighter is breaking you down and getting you to question reality in many ways. Even a seemingly innocuous occurrence like this is a big deal and should be taken seriously if you notice it.

What Are the Warning Signs?

In addition to these common phrases and persistent lying, there are also other signs of gaslighting. Many of these have to do with your feelings and behavior, but these changes are not your fault. Read on for some signs of gaslighting that you need to know so that you can better identify abuse.

You’re More Anxious, Depressed, and Isolated Than Usual

While mental health issues can stem from many factors, they are often a sign of gaslighting. This is because a gaslighter:

  • Knows how to make you blame yourself
  • Creates elaborate scenarios to prove their devotion to you
  • Tries to constantly keep you on your toes (a.k.a. anxious!)
  • Dismisses your feelings of unhappiness and guilt
  • Refuses to validate what you are going through
  • May keep you away from other loved ones (for fear that they see through their manipulations)

As you might imagine, all of these factors may make you feel alone and depressed. If you begin to notice your mental health deteriorating, it may be a good idea to assess your situation.

While worsening mental health isn’t always a sign of gaslighting, gaslighting almost always leads to mental health problems.

You Find Yourself Apologizing a Lot

One of the main side effects of anxiety is that you end up apologizing often. This is a concrete way that you can measure your self-doubt and anxiety. Much of the time, you’ll just be apologizing for existing because you’re scared. This should never happen, and it’s a sign of serious relationship problems.

If you notice that you have been apologizing persistently, take an objective look at the situation. Did you actually do anything to apologize for? Do you remember doing that thing?

If the answer to either of these questions is ‘no,’ you may be a gaslighting victim.

Many times, other loved ones will alert you to your excessive apologizing. Don’t brush these concerns off, but look inward and figure out why you are apologizing.

You’re Making a Lot of Excuses

People who are in abusive (or even just toxic) relationships often find themselves making excuses a lot. These excuses can be to absolve their partner of blame to third parties.

A lot of the time, people will say that it isn’t their partner’s fault that something happened and blame it on external factors. This happens even when external factors aren’t present. Those in toxic relationships want everyone to see only the good in their partner. When you’re being gaslit, this can lead to a lot of difficult lying on your part.

However, these excuses aren’t only things that you tell others. You also may make excuses for your partner’s behavior internally. Some examples are:

  • “She’s only late to events every single time because she is dealing with (possibly nonexistent) family.”
  • “I know that he lies, but it’s because he had a difficult childhood.”
  • “He only hurts me because he loves me.”

These are all thoughts that should give you pause.

Making Decisions is Really Hard

Gaslighters always make you question your decisions. As a result, you may find that making choices is really hard when you’re being gaslit. If you used to be confident in your decision-making skills but no longer are, take a moment to assess why this is the case.

Did someone make you feel that way? Be honest and don’t make excuses.

If the answer is ‘yes,’ it’s time to begin implementing coping strategies. This can help you to bring back your confidence.

How Can You Cope With Gaslighting?

Once you identify that you’re a victim of gaslighting, it’s important that you know what to do about it. Here, we’re going to discuss some ways that you can cope with having been gaslit. Read on for the most important things you can do to help yourself heal.

Don’t Second Guess Your Memory

Gaslighters love to make you question your memory. They love to sow the seeds of doubt until you no longer feel in control of your thoughts or your mind. One of the biggest impacts of this is that you no longer will trust your memory. This makes sense considering that they’ve told you over and over again that it’s failing you.

While it’s easier said than done, the first step towards healing is learning to trust your memory again. If you recall something happening, it probably did.

For a bit of additional validation, keep a daily journal of things that happen. When you begin to doubt something took place, look in the journal. The event will be right there and you’ll immediately have validated yourself!

Getting support from loved ones is critical in the healing process, but affirmation also needs to come from within. Next time you feel like asking another person (such as your gaslighter) to validate a thought or memory, look inward. Take a moment to affirm it for yourself instead of seeking external validation.

Practicing mindfulness is a great way to get in touch with your own mind as well. You’ve been through a terrible ordeal, so it’s only natural that you have a lot of feelings to process.

Let yourself experience both positive and negative emotions. Once you get in tune with these feelings, you can record them in your journal to become more in touch with them. This will teach you to identify and cope with your feelings and become more in touch with your mind and memory.

Stand Up for Yourself

Quashing doubt is a great way to support yourself internally. But what about showing your abuser that you respect yourself? What about eliminating all doubt that your memories, thoughts, feelings, and opinions are valid?

That will take a bit of work. Standing up for yourself is difficult, especially when you live with a gaslighter. However, it’s necessary, and it will likely show your abuser that you aren’t going to stand for their games anymore.

Some examples of things you could say include:

  • “That isn’t how I remember things.”
  • “That happened. I remember it happening.”
  • “Do not lie to me.”
  • “I remember that you said (x) on (y) occasion.”
  • “My feelings and perception of this situation are valid.”

It’s natural that you might struggle with saying these things at the beginning of your healing process. However, a professional can help.

Get Professional Help

No matter what you choose to do about the abuse, professional help for gaslighting is essential. A therapist can help you practice mindfulness and monitor your progress as you learn to validate yourself internally.

A professional can:

  • Help you hold your ground by refusing to take responsibility what the gaslighter has done
  • Ensure that you remember the facts and hold true to your truth
  • Assist you in fighting back on your own terms
  • Help you choose your battles
  • Go over your journal (if you want) and assess progress
  • Provide you with mindfulness activities

If you are forced to co-parent with your former gaslighter, professional help is even more important. A therapist can help you navigate the ins and outs of communicating with them. They also can help you to maintain your sanity when doing so.

Leave ASAP

Assuming that you aren’t already in the process of getting a divorce, you should leave the persistent gaslighter.

Pack up your things, walk out the door, and turn to supportive loved ones. Talk to a therapist. Never look back.

If there are kids involved, however, this may be more of a challenge. You still should separate, though, because your well-being is also a priority. You simply may need some professional tools to help you along.

2house’s platform allows you to communicate with the person you’re separating from about the welfare of your child. It’s optimized to help you organize the care and protect the well-being of your child while still letting you maintain distance from your ex. This distance is a good idea for most separated couples, but when dealing with someone who gaslit you, it’s essential.

Learn More

Being the victim of gaslighting is both painful and challenging. However, if you know where to look for help, you can begin to heal.

We’re happy to discuss your individual situation with you and point you in the direction of professional help. We also have many tools that help you manage your time and communication as you go through a divorce, including calendar, finance, and messaging applications.

We look forward to hearing from you soon!

How to Be a Great Co-Parent With an Ex (When You Still Have Feelings)

Co-parenting with someone you still love

Relationships aren’t built overnight. All lovers create a story filled with moments that once had so much meaning. But not all relationships last. 

And once they’re over, sometimes the thought of your ex makes you angry, but sometimes you mourn the loss of your lover. 

This powerplay of emotions is worse if you and your ex have a child together. As co-parents, the two of you are bound together—whether you like it or not.

The fall of a relationship is painful and sad. When there are children in the mix, the situation can become even more emotional, even volatile. 

So, how do you move on from heartbreak and effectively co-parent with an ex?

Keep reading for some tips on managing the conflict and pain associated with a break-up so you can be the best parent to your child.

Take Time to Heal

While some people break up amicably, no break-up is ever mutual. Someone will always be more hurt than the other, even if the decision to end the relationship was a logical one.

If you’re hurting from a breakup, it might feel impossible to raise a child with the one person in the world who loves your child as much as you do. 

It’s essential that you take time to heal.

Usually, a breakup requires space. Taking time away from each other, letting the metaphorical scrapes and cuts heal will slowly make your relationship better. 

You must be okay with lessened contact and communication—aside from the conversations regarding your child. The awkwardness will pass, even if there are negative feelings in the meantime.

You should be kind and supportive to your ex, but it’s acceptable to not be best friends. It doesn’t mean you won’t get there in the future.

What Does Effective Co-Parenting Look Like?

In a healthy co-parenting situation, both parents are involved in the child’s day-to-day life. Co-parents communicate effectively and share the responsibilities of parenting—including the financial, logistical, and emotional ones.

To be a good co-parent, you must communicate respectfully when hurdles come up and work together in the best interest of your child.

In most healthy co-parenting relationships, parents allow each other to express their own parenting style when they are with their child.

Co-parenting doesn’t have a definition—it’s more of a lifestyle. It’s communicating and collaborating with your ex in a way that is peaceful, respectful, fair, and with your child’s wellbeing in mind.

Boundaries Are Essential

It’s common for people to change after a separation. When you are forced to move on from a relationship, you have to unlearn your former partner.

Things that used to be your business aren’t anymore. You don’t have the right to ask personal questions, and you’re not entitled to the answers to the personal questions you do ask.

In the beginning, it’s best to limit any conversation to those about your child. As time goes on and you share endearing or funny stories about your child, you will naturally begin to feel like friends again. Just don’t expect this to come immediately.

Your former spouse doesn’t need to know if you’re going on a date or if you’ve got a new hair cut. They don’t need to know anything that doesn’t pertain to your child, and neither do you. 

Put simply, you’re entitled to your privacy. And so is your ex. Try hard not to blur the lines with your ex. Parenting alone is hard, especially when you’re hurting, but it’s essential to move on and be separate people

Remember That You’re Family

Maybe it doesn’t sound ideal right now, but like it or not, your former spouse will always be family. 

Because you have a child between the two of you, you need to embrace them as family, as well as any new partners that come into the picture. If you can, be friendly and respectful to their new partner. 

At the end of the day, you want your child to look around and be surrounded by people who only want to see them succeed. So, settle in. Do what you can to be together around your child. If the wounds aren’t too fresh, schedule family nights—play games, take walks, keep it light—and make it consistent.

Communicate as a Team

While it might be hard to have conversations with your ex after a difficult breakup, try to take the emotion out of the conversation. Disagreements will arise, and it’s vital to keep heated moments behind closed doors and away from your child. 

If you know you’re going to have a difficult conversation, schedule it in advance and meet at a neutral location. 

And if a conversation can’t wait, only communicate in front of your kids if you can do it wisely. If you’re capable of working things out amicably, it can be good for your child to see you working through a disagreement together. 

Above all, remember never to get personal and be respectful to one another. 

Be Flexible and Accessible

Again and again, you will hear that consistency is key. It’s true, you should strive to make your child feel stable during shaky times. However, you should also be flexible. 

When you request a change to the schedule, give your ex the benefit of the doubt when it comes to forgiveness and scheduling. This means you should switch days when necessary, welcome your ex to family events, and invite them to your child’s important events—even if it hurts to do so.

Always make an effort to stick to the schedule, but be open to change, especially if it’s easy to accommodate. Don’t deny your ex time just to be difficult because one day you might need their kindness in the same situation.

You should also try to be available to your ex, even if your instinct tells you to ignore their attempts at conversation. Don’t inconvenience yourself to take their call every time if you’re not available, but pick up the phone when you can. 

Your child will appreciate seeing the two of you communicating efficiently, respectfully, and kindly. 

Navigate Conversations With Your Child Carefully

It’s absolutely essential that parents don’t speak ill—or allow a third-party to speak negatively—about each other. It’s easy to get nasty and want to get even by insulting your ex behind their back, but the consequences to your child are potentially huge.

Each time you speak negatively around your child about someone else, you’re setting an example for them. You might also be making them feel insecure, as many children see themselves as a blend of their parents. If you and your ex openly hate each other, it drains your child’s self-worth.

When parenting alone, it can be tempting to talk to your children as if you’re friends—discussing adult topics such as parenting plans and money, and throwing ideas at the wall with them. While you should give your children room to make decisions, their freedom to choose should be limited. 

Let your child pick out their clothes, but don’t let them make big decisions such as where they will live and when. Giving a child too much power actually has a negative effect on them—they can begin to feel guilty or anxious

Find a Support Network

When tensions are running high while co-parenting, it’s vital to have a support network to help you navigate difficult times. 

Confide in a friend who can help you see both sides clearly, seek out the advice of a trusted religious leader, or join a supportive Facebook group. 

Whatever is happening in your life, you’re not alone, and you might find comfort in talking to others who are in the same situation.

Use Tech to Your Advantage

Co-parenting and technology go hand-in-hand. When raising kids in two households, technology keeps things easy and interesting. 

For example, you can set up a digital diary for your ex and you to share. Write notes about cute things your child does or funny things they say. Add photos and thoughts from two different perspectives—you can even add voice messages or videos. The possibilities are endless.

You can also take advantage of video-call apps such as Skype, Hangout, and FaceTime. These apps are useful in long-distance co-parenting situations. The long-distance parent can be a part of your child’s daily life. Call them during bedtime or during trips to school in the car.

As your child observes you having conversations about everyday life with your ex, this will ensure him or her that you’re on the same team. They don’t need to know how complicated it is to co-parent—just show them that you’re trying. 

Finally, try installing a co-parenting app that allows you and your ex to coordinate calendars, expenses, schedule switches, and more. By getting organized and staying on top of medical records, child-related finances, and more, you’ll always know what’s around the corner. You’ll be more confident in conversations with your ex if there is a disagreement. 

Get a Co-Parenting Agreement

If you find that you’re having trouble communicating with your ex, try asking an attorney to draft a co-parenting or custody plan. You can also draft one yourself if you feel comfortable doing so. 

Then, you can keep this document between the two of you or file it with the court system. It’s a plan that serves as a friendly reminder that you have promised each other to raise your child in a way that benefits them the most. 

A co-parenting agreement serves as a contract that addresses how both parents should behave toward each other and their children. This is in an effort to raise healthy, happy kids.

What’s Addressed in a Co-Parenting Plan?

If you’re filing for custody, the court may ask for a plan that includes an agreement upon the following issues:

  • Regular time-sharing schedule
  • Holiday and summer time-sharing schedules
  • Child support
  • Payment of child care and extracurricular activities
  • Payment of children’s health insurance and medical expenses
  • Restrictions on how far the parents can live from one another
  • Keeping each parent informed about important issues affecting the child
  • Sharing decisions about religious education

You can tweak a co-parenting plan to include other issues, such as:

  • Access to other relatives
  • Rights of first refusal
  • Use of a shared calendar or co-parenting app
  • Transportation costs
  • Meeting locations
  • Co-parenting communication (i.e. the number of hours each parent has to respond to communication)
  • Time-sharing for life events

If you’re wondering whether something is important to include, you should probably include it. Add anything else you and your ex typically argue about so that it’s clear and in writing to refer to when emotions run high.

Co-Parenting With Feelings Is Possible

At one point in time, you and your ex loved each other enough to have a child together. Sometimes things don’t work out between people, and while that’s unfortunate, it shouldn’t be the end of the world for your child. 

You must embrace the fact that you’re separated and have to maintain a relationship with your ex for the sake of your children. You are bound together forever through the child you made together.

Learn how to let go and be a responsible co-parent so that you can raise a happy child.

2houses is an app that can help you improve your family life by offering various tools and services related to co-parenting success. You can manage shared expenses, use a shared interface to send secure messages, log medical information, and more.

If you need help navigating your co-parenting relationship with your ex, consider downloading 2houses and using it as a hub for all things co-parenting.

The Top 5 Books for Explaining Divorce to Kids and How to Help Them Get the Most Out of Them

Divorce books for children

The primary focus of any divorce with children is to make things as easy for them as possible. There are lots of things to hash out, and it’s likely that you and the other parent will have some disagreements and growing pains as you navigate life as two families instead of one, but keeping the focus on what is in the best interests of the children can help everyone remember what is really the most important thing right now. 

Whether you’ve already told your kids that you’re getting a divorce or you’re still trying to figure out the best way to make the announcement, it can help to have something that shows your children that they aren’t alone in this experience and helps give them the tools to work through their emotions. Thankfully, people who have been through divorces have taken this task very seriously and written some great books that you can read with younger children or give to older teens to help them understand what’s happening and help them through it. We’ve included our favorites below.

1. The Invisible String by Patrice Karst

Divorce book for children

Age Group: Children ages 2 to 4

Number of Pages: 36

Written for younger children, The Invisible String is a book that acknowledges the fears your children may have about being separated from one parent when visiting the other or no longer living with both. It talks about an invisible string that always connects us with the people we love, so even when we aren’t around them physically, we can be sure that they are thinking about us and still love us just as much. 

The illustrations in the book are the main focus, which makes it a good choice for younger children who may aren’t able to read independently yet. Try reading it with your child at first, pointing out the pictures and how they connect to the words and the underlying message. You might encourage some further discussion by asking them what their favorite part about the book was or if there was anything that they didn’t understand or seemed troublesome. This can give you insight into how your child is feeling and what they may be thinking about the separation.

2. Shine: Why Don’t Moon Fairy & Sun Prince Live Together?: A story of unconditional love for the children of separated or divorced parents by Polona Kisovec

Divorce book for children

Age Group: Children ages 6 to 10

Pages: 42

In Shine: Why Don’t Moon Fairy & Sun Prince Live Together? Polona Kisovec takes the reality of divorce and turns it into a fairy tale that shows that sometimes the heroes can’t win all the battles but that their love for their children is something that never changes. The book presents the story of a couple who were in love and happy but then situations changed and they had to adapt, which meant living apart. The story includes some emotions for the main characters, which can be very helpful for children to understand that no one is happy about a divorce and that it’s difficult and emotional for everyone, including the parents.

While this book is also a great choice to read aloud to a younger child, it’s especially well-suited for children who are already independent readers and who many have an interest in fantasy worlds and adventure stories. The illustrations are just as beautiful as the written story and the message of “It’s going to be OK” is one that many children need the opportunity to hear — or read — over and over again during this time.

3. Two Homes by Claire Masurel

Age Group: Children ages 3 to 7

Pages: 40

Two Homes by Claire Masurel has much the same focus on reminding children that they are loved by both parents even if the family isn’t together all the time, but it hones in even more on the idea of having to go from one house to the next. It talks about the differences and similarities between Mommy’s house and Daddy’s house and can help children look for the positives and the good things that come from shared custody and having two homes instead of staying caught in the difficulties and resistance that comes with major change.

This book is a short read with lots of warm, child-friendly pictures and can be a good follow-up tool to address children’s questions about what life in two houses will look like after you’ve already told them the divorce is happening. It can even be helpful to have a hard copy at both houses so that you can both walk your child through the book and point out some of the ways their life is the same as the main character’s.

4. Now What Do I Do?: A Guide to Help Teenagers with Their Parents’ Separation or Divorce by Lynn Cassella-Kapusinski

Divorce book for children

Age Group: Children ages 10 and up

Pages: 174

Helping a tween or teenager through a divorce is very different from reassuring a younger child, but that’s where books like Now What Do I Do? come in. It focuses on presenting the issues that come with divorce and the feelings your teen may be dealing with in a way they can relate to and connect with. It’s centered around helping children identify and put words to the emotions they may be feeling and gives them tools and strategies for coping with those feelings as well as situations that may arise, such as doing holidays separately.

Divorce books for teens and tweens are usually more hands-off when it comes to parental involvement, but it’s still a good idea to let your child know that you realize this is a difficult time for them and that they may prefer to talk to friends or other trusted adults but that you’re still there if they have questions or need anything. You might also want to check back in after they’ve had a chance to read the book and see if anything’s come up that they want to discuss. Don’t be surprised if you get the “it was stupid” or an eye roll. It’s common at this age for children to not want to seem uncool or like they needed help and to downplay how much they might have related to the book and the message.

5. The Divorce Workbook for Teens: Activities to Help You Move Beyond the Break Up: Activities to Help Teens Move Beyond the Break Up by Lisa Schab

Divorce book for children

Reading about something is good, and getting advice on how to deal with divorce is great, but Lisa Schab takes it to the next level by giving teens an actual workbook to help them deal with the divorce and start moving toward a positive future. The book includes pen and paper activities and worksheets that give teens something to do to start working through their emotions and preparing for life post-divorce. It’s been a favorite of many school counselors and mental health professionals and receives rave reviews for being a practical tool to help teens get through divorce as smoothly as possible.

While this book is very well-rounded and covers all of the various aspects of divorce and how you’re teen may be feeling, the workbook style means your teen will only get out of it what they put in. This may mean that this book is best suited for teens who are actively interested in learning how to cope during this time or as a tool to be used alongside counseling appointments or group meetings for teens whose parents are divorcing.

Talking to Children About Divorce

When you’re talking to your children about divorce, remember that it’s important to present a united front if at all possible. They will likely handle the news better if it comes from both parents saying the same thing at the same time. This also shows that the decision was a joint one, so there’s no need to side with one parent over the other. Communicate what’s happening and how it’s going to affect practical things like living arrangements or school as clearly and concisely as possible, focusing on keeping the details age-appropriate. 

It’s also a good idea to be prepared to have to revisit the conversation. Children may have more questions or concerns as they process the news or may have periods where they are angry or sad. Being open to continued communication about the divorce and the changes it brings can help your children feel like they can talk to you and express their emotions, which will help them better deal with them in the long run.

*digitale version