Once parents in Texas have gone through a divorce, they still face the challenge of helping their children adjust to their new living situation. Fortunately, they can make this adjustment less difficult by supporting the child’s relationship with the other parent.
This means avoiding conflict or speaking negatively about the other parent in the child’s presence. Parents should also make sure their children understand that the divorce was not their fault and cannot be fixed by them. Children who have questions should be able to get honest answers, but parents must balance this with boundaries. Children do not need to hear details about what led up to the divorce. They should be able to express a range of emotions, including negative ones. They should also feel comfortable expressing love for the other parent as well as for stepparents.
Children who have a predictable schedule usually adjust more quickly. Any major changes to the schedule should be shared with them as soon as possible. If the children are older, they may participate in creating the schedule. Parents should also be aware that children will sometimes prefer spending time with their friends instead. This should be encouraged since it is also important for their emotional and social development. They should not be expected to take messages or information back and forth between parents.
During the divorce process, parents may include provisions in the parenting plan to promote a healthy co-parenting relationship. For example, they might agree to use certain software tools to communicate about pickups and dropoffs, or they might outline basic rules and expectations that the child will follow in both households. Attorneys may be able to help parents in negotiating these expectations as well as the child custody and visitation agreement. A parent’s attorney might also help if the case has to go to court.