Helping Children Cope With Divorce: 10 Don‘ts

There are many does and don‘ts when it comes to helping children cope with divorce. As parents we are responsible for helping our children to cope with the divorce. There are a couple of things parents need to be aware of and protect their children from. Here you find 10 things you do not want your children to be exposed to.

1. Don‘t be negative about the other parent.

Children often identify themselves with their parents. Thus, if you critize the other parent or if you talk in a negative way about him or her, your children feel critized as well. This does apply to other important adults in the life of the children, like step-parents and grand-parents.

2. Don‘t share too many details of the divorce.

Especially when it concerns school-age and younger children. They should not know about matters such as the court case, child support, or financial concerns. The children may feel confused and insecure and not knowing what to do with the information. Teenagers may need more details, but also with them, do not ask their opinion and do not make them feel involved and responsible.

3. Don‘t make your children spying for you.

Children often feel responsible towards their parents. Asking them to find things out about the other parent, will put them under pressure and in mixed feelings. If you have questions or doubts about your ex-spouse, ask him or her yourself directly instead. Helping children cope with divorce requires integrity from both parents.

4. Don‘t have a conflict or disagreement in the presence of the children.

Your children cannot help that you are angry at your spouse. Do not pull them into your conflict. Conduct yourself in a mature manner and avoid further confusion for your children. Read more on Divorce Children and Conflict

5. Don‘t let your children make adult decisions.

Even if the parents are totally stressed out, there is never a reason for children to have to take on responsibilities that are the parents only. Let your children be children and take your responsibility as parent.

6. Don‘t withold the truth about the divorce from your children.

If they ask why you are divorcing answer their questions. Listen to their concerns. Ask and talk about their emotions. Even if it is difficult for you to talk about the topic, not listening and not sharing sends them the message that they and their feelings do not matter. Helping children cope with divorce requires being open and honest.

7. Don‘t sabotage the visitation rights of your ex.

You may feel a need for revenge or punishment on the other parent. Don't. (How) Does it help you to build up your new life again? Never punish the other partner via the children. Your children have the right to have and see both their parents. If your ex thinks differently about how to educate your children, this does not have to be a negative thing. Your children will get experiences in different worlds and different households.

If you want to stop your children visiting your ex because of abuse or violence, take legal action by going to the police or by involving a family lawyer to keep your children away.

8. Don‘t buy your child‘s love with gifts.

Give your children what they need the most: your love, your attention and your true presence. No material gifts can replace that.

9. Never stop being a parent.

Your children need you to feel safe and to have a safe environment. They need to have a daily routine. Spend as much quality parenting time with them as possible and do not ignore their feelings. They may not be very good in expressing them, but the signs will be there.

10. Do not stop having fun with your children.

All children deserve a nice and safe childhood. They need to have fun, together with you. Having fun together creates and improves your bond. It distracts them from your and their worries.

To helping children cope with divorce, take these tips seriously.

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