How to Discipline Children after Divorce: Establishing Healthy Rules

Discipline problems can surface in your child during the divorce process—it only makes sense, and your children are not to blame. With divorce comes a number of changes that are difficult for children to process, including the fact that their parents no longer love each other as they did. These changes in their life and their schedules can leave children confused and even angry. At a time when their home lives don’t feel stable, their parents may have much of their attention on their divorce and their inner lives—a situation that can lead to changes in behavior, acting out, and testing boundaries. 

How can you establish discipline and healthy rule-setting in your home after a divorce? 

  • Coordinate with your ex. You may face lots of acting out if you aren’t successfully co-parenting with your ex-spouse. Even though your romantic relationship is over, it will help the situation significantly if you can continue communicating about discipline and raising the children. Having similar house rules in both homes can give children added comfort and stability—and knowing that their behavior is being reported to the other parent can help you keep control. 
  • Establish a clear schedule and clear rules. One of the reasons that divorce is hard on children is that they lose their sense of stability—so much change can cause insecurity and regression. You can combat these issues by making their lives as stable as possible through a solid set of rules and a regular schedule. 
  • Don’t let your guilt get the best of you. It’s natural to feel guilty during and after a divorce, especially when it comes to your kids. However, although you should process these feelings, you shouldn’t let your guilt affect your child rearing. Stopping discipline or allowing poor behavior because you feel bad is not the answer. 
  • Continue to show your love and support. Behind every good set of house rules and every act of discipline should be a parent’s constant love and support. Acting out often takes place because a child craves attention and affirmations of love. When a child knows that he or she is loved and cared for, you’ve already taken the first step toward good behavior and healthy kids. 

Are you in need of a Seattle child custody attorney? Call the Law Offices of Molly B. Kenny today to schedule an appointment: 425-460-0550.

Molly B. Kenny
Founder and Principal Divorce Attorney
Molly B. Kenny's Bellevue family law office is conveniently located on Lake Bellevue Drive, making it easily accessible to those in the greater Seattle area. Our divorce and child custody lawyers help men and women get the information, guidance, and compassionate representation they need.
Law Offices of Molly B. Kenny