Divorce is a very stressful process, and those who share children with their spouses often find it to be particularly difficult to reach an agreement on all of the major outstanding legal and financial matters related to their marriages. Both parents love their children, which could very easily set the household up for an intense custody negotiation process.
Obviously, parents don’t want their personal choices to have a negative impact on their children and the family. These are some of the ways that they can they reduce the strain that children are exposed to during and after divorce.
Shield them from conflict
Regardless of how old or mature the children in the family may be, they do not need to hear damaging details about either parent. They will also likely suffer if they witness protracted conflict between their parents, which makes the cultivation of civil communication and a healthy co-parenting dynamic important. Additionally, parents should not put children in the middle of conflicts that do arise. It is not appropriate to have a child act as a messenger between parents or demand that they choose how to resolve a disagreement.
Keep things consistent
Changing daily routines and expectations can contribute quite a bit to the stress a young adult experiences when their parents divorce. Moving to a new school district, trying to keep two sets of rules straight and otherwise adjusting to major upheaval during a parental divorce can make adjusting much harder for the children. Trying to keep the children in a familiar environment and maintaining the same rules and expectations at both households will help the children know what the adults expect from them and will make the transition to the new arrangements easier.
Provide them with support resources
No matter how careful parents are about keeping life predictable and conflict minimal, the children will inevitably have intense emotional responses to the divorce that they need a chance to review and process. Therapy, support groups and even creative extracurricular activities can give children a necessary outlet for expressing themselves and processing the intense emotions that often accompany a parental divorce.
Parents who make the needs of their children a top priority can often reduce how damaging and stressful parental divorce may be for the children in the family. Cooperating with one another for the sake of the children can be a challenge at first but is crucial for the adjustment of the entire family to the new arrangements.