After going through a divorce, you will move with the children to a new home, which means establishing rules and guidelines all over again. Do not be surprised to have some of the “new” rules challenged. Yes, your children will be going through some difficult times, especially teenagers so you need to be the boss with gentleness and kindness.
One of the things that often happens in a divorce is the single parent with custody of the children has little time to do anything other than breathe. This means shopping trips, playtime outside, teaching your teen to drive, and even the family’s dinnertime changes. Just remember, these things do not have to change but this means you going the extra mile to try to provide a stable and secure home.
Interestingly, dinner may be more important to your teenagers than you ever imagined. For instance, a study performed by the National Center for Addiction and Substance Abuse, along with multiple other sources, show that the more dinners a teenager has at home, the less likely he, or she would be to smoke, drink, or use drugs. The reason is that dinnertime is a great opportunity for the entire family to sit and leisurely talk. Teenagers, particularly those living in single parent homes, find this a great time to let down and share.
While you may find you skip one or two dinners a week as a family, I strongly encourage you to make this a priority above everything else. You may need to bring work home with you or arrange for your child to make it to practice or a game with a friend or family member but a few adjustments to keep the family meal time is crucial. While there are a number of things you want to do to keep the family going strong after a divorce, dinnertime is definitely ranked at the top of the list.