In this next article about children in divorcing families, I now turn to some tips for parents to help their children adjust to this life-impacting event. But before presenting this list, I do want to remind parents of one very important characteristic that should always be at the core of every parent; regardless of whether a divorce is looming or not, and that is our children should always come first.
So when reading this list, please keep that very important but straightforward message in mind.
- No altercations in front of your children: In any family, altercations occur. But the best advice here is to avoid doing this in front of your child because the memories of these events and the ultimate mental impact on the child can be significant. And along these lines, if things with the other parent do need to be discussed, make sure the children cannot hear them as the goal is to keep them out of any arguments.
- Do not have the children take sides: The loyalties of our children should extend to both parents so do not try to manipulate them from taking your side. And this also includes not criticizing the other parent in front of your child. No good ever comes from this.
- Respect the relationship: I left this tip open-ended but I’m specifically referring to the relationship between the child and other parent. A child needs both parents (as long as they are deemed fit to be a parent) and even though it may be difficult when the child only lives with one parent at a time, it is important the child get the opportunity to spend time with both parents.
- Routine, routine, routine: Although this may be very difficult, it’s very important both parents maintain the same schedule…school, home, sports, extracurricular activities, etc…so the child knows what to expect each day. And this also extends to similar rules in each household. I realize this is tough, but do your best here.
- Get help if needed: This extends to both you and your children. It goes without saying how difficult divorce can be so sometimes some outside support is needed. Talk to your child’s physician about resources available for them and for you.
So I leave with you these 5 basic tips which could easily evolve to many more. And if anyone would like to share some of their experiences and thoughts, we’d love to hear from you.
- Dr. Jeremy
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