Many parents going through divorce experience immense guilt. Sometimes it starts as they contemplate divorce, after they’ve contacted a North York divorce lawyer or at some other point during the proceedings. It’s normal for guilt-wracked moms and dads to want to buy their kids lavish gifts, allow them to squeak by on chores or be seen as a “Disney parent”. However, that might not be what your kids need—and doing those things might heap further guilt on you in the long run.

Compensation: What Do Your Kids Really Want?

“I’ll make it up to you.” How many times have you thought or said that when you’ve considered how your divorce is affecting your kids?

By all means, make it up to them… but make it up in ways that matter. To most kids, spending quality time with mom or dad is far more valuable than a new toy, video game or outfit. Even if your child custody arrangement doesn’t leave a lot of family time for you and your children, you can make every second count. Like adults, kids crave validation and have a need to be something to someone; showing a genuine interest in their lives is one of the best ways to cement your parent-child relationships and encourage them to stay connected with you.

Buying gifts or allowing your kids to stay up late are both fine in moderation. In most cases, parents should stick to the same routines and keep the same ground rules they had when they were married; it’s healthier for the kids. When you heap gifts on your children, you might be sending a signal that you think their feelings are up for sale.

Easing Your Divorced Parent Guilt

As a divorcing or divorced parent, you might be on an emotional roller coaster. In addition to parental guilt, you may be grieving the loss of your marriage, angry with your spouse or otherwise stressed about your situation. While these feelings are normal, dealing with guilt can help alleviate your other stresses.

Remember that as a parent, you’re not at your best when you’re unhappy. If you’re working with a North York divorce lawyer, chances are you’re on your way to a happier life; that means you’ll be able to become an even better parent.

Sometimes it’s helpful to talk to someone who isn’t directly involved in your case and who has experience with guilt and divorce. Your family and friends are an excellent resource when you just need some reassurance that you’re doing the right thing. If you’re not comfortable talking to them, consider asking your North York divorce lawyer if he or she knows of any local support groups or a counselor in your area who might be able to help.