Heart & Mind:  Parenting


by: Denise Esecson, MFT

Here is a quick reference guide of DOíS and DONíTíS 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 childrenís 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 parentís 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


  • Donít blame the other parent such that children take sides
  • Donít speak negatively about the other parent in front of your children
  • Donít assign children the role of ďmessage carrierĒ to the other parent
  • Donít allow your children to bear the burdens of your emotional and or financial concerns.
  • Donít use your child as a confidant -- you must remain the parent and the adult.
  • Donít allow your feelings to stand in the way of your childrenís desire to have a relationship with the other parent or step-parent.
  • Donít forget to reassure the children that the parents will continue to love them even though Mom and Dad are not getting along
  • Donít 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

This Article Parenting Through Your Divorce was written by Denise Esecson, MFT