Here is a quick reference guide of DO’S and DON’T’S for Helping Your Children Through Your Divorce:
- Do encourage your children to talk openly about their feelings
- Do emphasize that the divorce was not their fault
- Do understand that your children’s behavior may reflect feelings of anger, fear, confusion, sadness and loss. Validate their feelings, allow them to be angry with you
- Do be honest with your children about the finality of divorce according to what is age appropriate
- Do keep your children informed about family-life changes such as moving, visitation, activities, schedules, etc.
- Do remain consistent with established rules and expectations even if they are not the same in the other parent’s household.
- Do make the effort to spend quality time with each child every day.
- Do commit to protecting your children from being involved in parental conflict. Agree on co-parenting strategies that benefit the children
- Do take all necessary steps to ensure a safe and stable home environment
- Do seek professional help if your children are experiencing unresolved problems in response to your divorce
- Don’t blame the other parent such that children take sides
- Don’t speak negatively about the other parent in front of your children
- Don’t assign children the role of “message carrier” to the other parent
- Don’t allow your children to bear the burdens of your emotional and or financial concerns.
- Don’t use your child as a confidant — you must remain the parent and the adult.
- Don’t allow your feelings to stand in the way of your children’s desire to have a relationship with the other parent or step-parent.
- Don’t forget to reassure the children that the parents will continue to love them even though Mom and Dad are not getting along
- Don’t promise your children more than you can deliver; be realistic about your plans, including new living arrangements, time spent with children as they try to find a new sense of security in their lives