Choosing to get a divorce can be a particularly stressful and hard time for parents. But it does not have to be that way for children. In fact, children can thrive growing up in two households as long as both parents work together to create a positive atmosphere for their kids.
The following parenting tips can help foster a supportive and loving environment for children of divorced parents, regardless of specific custody and visitation agreements:
Don’t talk bad about the other parent: Often times parents will still be angry and holding on to hurtful feelings about each other. However, those thoughts and ideas should be shared with friends or a trained professional – not the children.
And while this means not coming out and just saying bad things about mom or dad in front of the children, it also means to make sure there aren’t subtle jabs – like always asking if the kids are OK and seeing if anything is wrong every single time one parent picks up after a visit. This continual questioning of “Did your visit go OK?” can make kids think that they should not be having fun during visits with their other parent.
The kids had no role in the divorce: Children – especially younger ones – tend to blame themselves for their parents’ divorce. Because of this it is very important to be reassuring that the divorce was not their fault and that both parents love them very much.
Ex-spouse has a different parenting technique? Let it go: Kids can normally adjust to different parenting techniques, so one parent shouldn’t feel like he or she should convert their ways. This means that if the children ask for something, saying that their mother normally lets them, it does not mean that their father also has to go along.
In general, divorce can be the best decision that a couple who no longer gets along can make both for themselves and their children, and by staying civil and accepting differences their children can also thrive in both of their loving and supportive stable households.
Source: The Columbia Daily Tribune, “Ways to lessen divorce trauma,” Joanne Nelson, 7 April 2011