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Divorce is painful.

You might be dealing with financial and legal issues, as well as emotional difficulty.

You may come to resent, or even hate, your former spouse.

But no matter the situation, it’s not okay to talk ill of the other parent to your kids.

How to Discuss Divorce with Kids

If you can’t speak your mind on what you’re thinking, what should you do then?

One way to help the kids is to discuss what is happening to the family openly.

It’s also best to hold this discussion in the presence of the other parent. This will eliminate blame and show a unified message from both parents.

Address any concerns they may have, such as the need to maintain a relationship with both parents. Reaffirm them that the relationship with both parents is forever and the children will never be abandoned. Explain that a divorce doesn’t favor a relationship with a child; while the marriage may end, the relationship between a child and a parent doesn’t.

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Child Custody of Minor Children

Children who are under the age of 18 have to be placed under some type of custody arrangement.

Both parents will have to decide on this. And, if they can’t you’ll have a court decide for you!

Physical custody relates to living with and supervising the child, while legal custody refers to more significant decisions affecting the child.

Effectiveness of Co Parenting Kids

The effectiveness of co-parenting will determine how children will adjust to transitions linked to a separation or divorce.

The parent who’s granted primary residential custody usually decides on the day-to-day issues that touch on the child’s welfare.

However, other major life decisions like religion, finances, recreation, education, emergencies, and health should be agreed upon jointly. Expect not to agree on everything as every parent has differing ideas.

Here are tips for successful co-parenting:

  • Acknowledge and appreciate what your ex-spouse is offering your child
  • Respect each other’s need for privacy
  • Every parent has a right to build the desired parenting style, as long as there’s no harm done
  • How you act towards your ex-spouse is more important than how you feel about him/her
  • Respect each parent’s time with the child as it is sacred
  • Don’t expect this new way of life to be comfortable but be committed to playing by the rules
  • A stable home environment for the children

Keep school, community support systems, and family as stable as possible. The period following the finalization of divorce is often unstable as everyone is adjusting to new conditions. Since children are different and adapt differently, others are vocal while some are not; make sure to cater to each one’s experiences.

This is the time to be supportive and nurturing. End parental conflict and support relationships that are important to the child. You can always read books and resources that will teach you more about adjusting to the divorce process with kids, especially when kids are involved.

Children fear the unknown, and an emotionally unstable household will have a detrimental impact on kids. Since feelings of guilt, sadness, rejection, anger, and fear are commonplace among children going through a divorce process, it’s pivotal to remain emotionally supportive. No law forbids you from offering this kind of support. Allow your kids to express their thoughts and emotions and you will all adjust with time.

A divorce is tough for anyone, but it’s even tougher when there are children to consider. It can be a moment that defines their understanding of adult relationships in a negative light if you’re not careful. As such, here are a few tips on what to do and what not to do when you’re divorcing with kids in the relationship.

Helpful Tips for Kids and Parents of Divorce

Help them deal with their feelings

Do not try to pretend that everything is business as usual and that nothing is changing. If your kids don’t have a healthy outlet for their emotions, they’re likely to act out when it becomes too much to bear. Assure your children that their feelings are important, help them label those emotions and talk about them. It’s tempting to want to solve their problems by assuring them that everything is alright, but it tends to more often make them feel like their feelings aren’t valid. Keep the dialogue open, support them, and work with the other parent to plan how you’re going to talk about the divorce with them.

Don’t let kids get involved in the argument

While you should keep an open door for your kids’ emotions, you should avoid letting them get swept up in yours. Adult disagreements should solely stay that way, and attempting to frame the other parent in a negative light or to make a child pick sides will build resentment for everyone involved. The end goal here should be that the kids in the family have a healthy relationship with both of their parents. Your emotions are important, but your place to vent them is with a close friend or on a therapist’s couch, not to your kids.

Do try to find compromise with your ex

When kids are involved in a marriage, instinct may pull you to fight for them during a divorce, even if it causes suffering for the other parent. It’s important, instead, to work on co-parenting after your split. Talk about how you’re going to discuss the divorce with the children, and aim to make a compromise on who gets to spend what time doing which parental duties with the children. Consistent schedules, consistent means of discipline, and consistently healthy communication can all help build a family relationship that’s stable, even when it changes.

Don’t use the kids as messengers

Never pull your kids into the divorce negotiations, not even for something as simple as asking the other parent for a change to your co-parent schedule. Many parents make the mistake of using their children as spies and messengers, which can be deeply destabilizing for them, especially if they have warm relationships with both problems. It’s important that you get to a point where you’re able to and comfortable with contacting the other parent directly when you need to talk to them.

The above tips are just the beginning. The Divorce Mistakes Network offers a range of credible information looking at specific divorce mistakes, the damage they can leave, and how you can avoid making them.