Divorce is considered the third-worst event a child can experience. Parents need to focus on minimizing the pain of the divorce to child. What follows are some tips parents can use to make the process less painful for everyone involved.
1) Keep it civil.
Parents are among the most significant people in a child’s life, and the last thing they want to see is parents who argue every time they are together or one parent who badmouths the other when she or he isn’t around. This sort of behavior is so harmful to children that some people even label it as abusive. No matter a parent’s feelings toward an ex-partner, all interactions that occur in the presence of a child should be as polite and respectful as possible.
2) Present a united front.
Children need a certain amount of structure and consistency, so all parenting decisions should be joint decisions. Rules should not differ much, if any, between households, and parents should resolve their differences of opinion in private and approach children only after they reach a consensus. Parents must work together to compromise and act consistently for the sake of their children’s well-being.
3) Don’t pester children for information.
One of the top complaints of children of divorce is that their parents pester or interrogate them for information about the other. This habit is highly stressful for children, who want both to please the inquiring parent by providing the desired information and to protect the other parent’s right to privacy. It is crucial never to pry about what goes on when a child is with the other parent. They should ask questions about the time spent away only when the motive is to create conversation and connection. Children are not spies; they should never be treated as such.
4) Take children’s desires into account and keep them informed.
Children, especially older children, have their own opinions and desires about divorce-related matters. These should be taken into account as much as possible. Divorce makes children feel like they have lost control over what happens to them, so respecting their wishes as far as possible helps them regain a sense of power. It’s also important to keep them updated on matters that concern them; keeping them in the dark causes anxiety and mistrust and robs them of the opportunity to voice their preferences. Honesty is the best policy.
Divorce rates are higher than ever, but the normalization of divorce will never make it normal for a child. Even the smoothest divorce brings enormous changes for the offspring of the divorcees, and good parents must do everything in their power to make the adjustment as comfortable as possible. Parents should always keep their children’s best interests in mind. Following these guidelines can help. Peter Van Aulen is certified by the New Jersey Supreme Court as a matrimonial attorney. If you have a divorce and a child custody matter, call the Law Offices of Peter Van Aulen today at (201) 845-7400 for a consultation.