Based on the commonality of Michigan divorce in today’s society, it may seem as though most school-aged kids are from broken homes. But according to government consensus records that’s actually not true. Recent studies show that 69% of the 74 million kids across America live in a single household with two parents. Whether both of those parents are biological or not, however, is another matter altogether. The point is, loving parents recognize the importance of continued parenting roles regardless of what happens in their own adult relationships.
Many parents either opt to hold off on divorcing until the kids are out of school or rush into another relationship to ensure ongoing parental support. But parenting shouldn’t stop just because your marriage didn’t last forever. In fact, incorporating two separate households is easier and more beneficial than you might think. Here are some simple but effective ways to ease the transition between parent homes while ensuring you remain a family unit long after your Michigan divorce.
Let Your Kids Have a Say
Traditionally, most childhood survivors of divorce ended up living in their pre-divorce home while “visiting” the parent who moved out. While the noncustodial or “dual”-custodial parent may have attempted to make their new surroundings a home, something was often just off. Here’s the problem: few of those parents knew to encourage their kids to become a significant part of that home-making process. But once you allow that merge to occur, everything changes.
Welcome your kids into the fold of their second home. Let them make some suggestions regarding concepts such as paint colors, accessories, furniture placement, special artwork, or even their own room decorations. And don’t just listen, follow through. Let them see and feel that their opinions matter so they want your new home to become theirs as well.
Add in Some Familiarity
Both family homes certainly shouldn’t be clones, but too much change can lead to serious anxiety. Consider your kids’ favorite items in the marital home and try to recreate or obtain a few special items for the secondary home. Perhaps the ten-year-old loved a butterfly lamp or the teenager curls up with a special microfiber throw on Saturday mornings. If you can’t find replicas, ask the ex what items can be split or shared to help ensure an easy and comfortable transition.
Avoid Competing with the Ex
During and after divorce, emotions swing high for the entire family. Older kids, especially, tend to use those to their advantage, and parents play right into their hands. The primary household or custodial parent may find it hard to deal with the gushing from the new changes or “improvements” at the other household. But this isn’t the time to play into that. Try your best to muster up some excitement towards those new changes, but hold your own at home. Your kids need stability, and that excitement will soon fizzle out.
Keep Dual Calendars and Rules
Visual aids, such as calendars marked in dual colors–one for mom’s days and one for dad’s days, are essential for keeping track of new or ongoing schedules. The color coding allows all family or household members to see and understand the weekly plan. And if it’s easily erasable for quick changes, even better. The same should be practiced for rules. A second home should not indicate a new set of household rules.
All expectations, from extracurriculars and homework plans to bath and bed times should be charted and kept in plain view of each household. This is also a great way to jot notes on what each parent’s decisions or disciplinary tactics have been regarding specific situations. Extra organization is priceless when it comes to easing the transition of two households. If you need more suggestions, contact your Michigan divorce lawyer.