Make your divorce easier on kids by divorcing only your spouse

Getting a divorce is traumatic and nowhere do we see the effects of a divorce more than the children. The family is the life center for children, and when the family is threatened by divorce the children feel tugged and pulled between mom and dad.

Many parents worry about the effects of divorce on their children and this is one reason divorces take years to finalize. When you divorce your spouse, you should not divorce your children. Experts who work with families report that many times a failure for the child to trust well into adulthood stems back to reliving the divorce of their parents.


Do

Do resolve issues

The problems witnessed during divorce proceedings stem from unresolved anger and bitterness with the issues that led up to or caused the divorce. Resolving these issues with conflict resolution prior to divorce helps each partner feel a renewed sense of closeness, and they may feel more motivated to work on their marriage.

Additionally, resolving the issues will help the divorce be more child-centered and more focused on the child’s well-being, and also will help with communication as the couple co-parent while living apart from one another.

Do be considerate of your child’s needs

If you must divorce, get your child’s perspective of how they may feel. Trying to be considerate of their needs can help immensely.

Do ensure that kids never experience your hate and bitterness

It is not uncommon for adults to suffer emotional problems from going through a divorce with their parents. Usually, the divorce was only part of the pain. The other part was the constant criticism, hating and bitterness the divorced parents used against each other as the child was growing up. Children need to know they grew up being loved by their parents. If you cannot live with your married partner and you must divorce, then divorce each other. But don’t divorce the kids. A divorce should never be a reason for you not to see and support your child.

Do apologize

If you ever say anything bad about your child’s other parent, always apologize to your child. Children can forgive, but forgetting is very difficult for them.


Don't

Do not share details

Never share intimate details of what happened or caused the divorce with your children. There is a boundary between adults/parents and children. Your child should never be your emotional confidante. If a parent needs to talk to someone, a good therapist or best friend is an option—but never your child.

Do not use your child as a spy

Your child’s job is not to come home with the details of what mom or dad is doing. This puts your child in a terrible position and they constantly worry about losing one parent, lying, or feeling used. If you need a detective, hire one—but never use your child.

Do not talk negatively

Never talk badly about your ex or your child’s other parent in front of your child. Your child will personalize the nasty things you say about their other parent.

Do not compare

It is cruel to compare your child to their other parent in a negative way. It also reflects poorly on you because you chose to become involved with the child’s other parent.


Summary
Jumping cartoon

Divorce is traumatic for the entire family—especially for children. Always think about your words and your actions. It is crucial to help your children understand that although their family has changed, their mother and father both love them and will be working together to parent them.


More expert advice about Families in Divorce

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Mary Jo Rapini LPCLicensed Professional Counselor

Mary Jo Rapini is a licensed certified intimacy/sex relationship psychotherapist in private practice. Mary Jo serves as an intimacy/sex therapist for hospitals and clinics and evaluates patients for bariatric surgery in the Houston area. She wa...

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