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Should you relax your child's rules after a divorce?

After a divorce, you may feel tempted to tone down the rules you give your child or children. You'll want to let them get away with more -- staying up past their bedtime, for instance -- because you know that the divorce is stressful for them. You think that relaxing the rules a bit will help them adjust.

It can, but you need to be careful with this. Children need structure and consistency. You don't want to give that up. In fact, it's best if you and your ex have a child custody arrangement where you both follow similar rules and give the children's lives a predictable structure.

That said, you do want to make sure you still have a close relationship with your kids, not just a set of rules that they have to follow. You want to be a role model for them, showing them how to behave, and you want to put in the time to really create a strong parent-child relationship. After all, some experts note that: "Rules without relationship lead to rebellion."

Forging that relationship can get harder after divorce. If you split custody time with your ex, you don't see the children as much as you used to. That's why it is so important to make the most of the time that you do have, actively engaging with your child and showing them that you love them -- even as you enforce the rules.

Child custody gets complicated, but the key is just to put the kids first. Make sure you know what legal steps in Connecticut you can take to do so.

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