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Global Guide to Divorce
Jack Jack the Cat

Keep Children’s Well-Being First During Divorce

Think about your children’s well-being in the midst of divorce, when you feel like going into battle with their other parent. Divorce results in the breakdown of the relationship between two adults. However, the fallout can greatly affect the little ones. An amicable divorce means that they go between two happier homes. A contentious one turns into war, with the youngsters getting caught in the crossfire.

Divorce triggers anger and hurt feelings. These emotions are expressed to the spouses’ lawyers, not to children. A way to keep kids out of the divorce is to decide on a similar mantra. Each parent says something along this line, “We are no longer marital partners, instead we will be co-parents” or “Divorce is between us. We still love you.” No mention of cheating or other vices. Just a simple message given by both parents.

Children want to be reassured that both of you will still be in the picture. No abandonment or feeling that they have to choose sides. A change in living arrangements will be happening. Even if one parent moves out of town, frequent contact and specified visitation will be arranged. Skype and phone calls can also be done between visitations, when both former spouses live in the same city.

Fear of the unknown can be frightening. Kids have vivid imaginations and can envision a worst-case scenario. They might dream up something that would never happen. They require reassurances that their lives will continue as before in many areas. Have a discussion with the children about their concerns, such as whether or not they will remain in the same school. Let them know that sports and after school activities will continue. They will still have their friends. Help kids to stay in touch with grandparents and relatives from both sides. This constancy in their lives will enable them to get through this crazy divorce period. Have them carry on with activities that have been enjoyable, such as helping Grandpa in the garden or baking cookies with Grandma.

I have heard parents congratulating themselves for “putting their children first” during and after divorce. What I have witnessed as a school nurse did not always jive with their noble intention. Plenty of students of divorcing parents ended up in my office with stress related conditions. Teachers have complained how the youngsters were bringing their parents’ divorce dramas into the classrooms. Fortunately in the schools, there are some well-adjusted children whose parents have divorced. These parents deserve five gold stars for co-parenting. What is their secret? “Put your ego aside.” This group revealed that they truly put their kids’ needs first. By being on the same page with the same philosophy, it made co-parenting easier. Ironically, some confided that the relationship between their former partner was better post-divorce.

Take a look at your situation. Are you saying anything at all about the other parent? Are you going into details regarding the divorce?  Please read more