Children and Divorce

Father comforts a sad child

Over on Huffington Post, they are running a series on how to help children through a divorce. While every situation is unique, there are some common guidelines for every child.

*Never make your child feel guilty for loving their mom or dad. While there may be fault on one side or other, kids center their world around their parents and sabotaging that love can cause anguish. Never ask them who they would rather live with, or who they love more. They love you both, and want to live with you both.

*Don’t put the kids in the middle of negotiations, arguments or arrangements. They shouldn’t be passing messages or mediating, that makes them take on a mature role in the separation, something that needs to be reserved for adults. Ask a friend, send a text or email, write a note, hire a lawyer instead.

*It’s okay to hide things from the kids. They don’t need to know that a parent behaved badly, or who wronged whom. Their world is already devastated, without adding more negative emotions to the mix. If they ask questions, keep the answers age appropriate, and let them dictate how much information they want.

*Get a routine as quickly as possible. A solid schedule that a child can count on is invaluable in rebuilding a sense of safety and security.

*Let your child’s teacher or caregivers know what’s going on. It might not feel right to air your personal laundry but these are your child’s advocates, and can help give encouragement or watch for common warning signs of stress, such as acting out. Stay neutral and don’t give too many personal details, a brief overview of the split and any new visitation schedules is plenty.

For more ideas and tips, check How to Help Your Toddler Through Divorce and How to Help Children Ages 6-12 Through Your Divorce

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