Maybe you feel bad about turning your kids’ lives upside down by getting divorced. Firstly, don’t. You need to do what is best for you, and sacrificing your own well-being and happiness for your kids is not wise, nor, once they are old enough to understand these things, what they would want.
You might feel you need to make it up to their kids. Yet, expensive toys and treats are not what your child needs, even though they might enjoy them at the time. Here is how you can help your kids come to grips with their new reality:
Love and affection
Even a surly teenager can appreciate the warmth of a genuine hug and you telling them you love them. Provided you do not do it at the school gate in front of their friends.
Just because your child moans when you tell them to be home by 10 does not mean they would prefer you let them stay out all night. The lines you draw serve several purposes — they help ensure they do not go too far, which they might not be able to define alone. Secondly, they allow them to back out from dangerous situations while saving face with peers. What better excuse not to have sex, try drugs or skip school than “My dad will kill me if he finds out?”
You might have your kids with you all the time, but that does not mean you give them what they need. If you are constantly busy with work or on the phone, your child can feel just as abandoned as if they did not see you at all. However busy you are, stake out time where it is you and them without distractions.
Your kids will do best when they get these things from both parents. Working out a suitable custody arrangement will be crucial to that.