The task of going through a divorce is a significant challenge on its own, but when children are involved, a whole new set of responsibilities appears. Taking care of children’s mental and emotional needs calls for constant attention. The action parents take even before a divorce is final shapes the kind of adult that they grow up to become.
There is a long list of consequences that a child can face if they do not receive the attention and care they need in a divorce. Here are some tips for caring for a child to protect their growth through a divorce.
Civility between ex-spouses
Children see themselves as the product of both parents. When one parent criticizes the other, a child can see these statements as a criticism of themselves. While positive feelings between parents may have faded after a divorce, children still love both their parents. Children see an insult against someone they love as an insult to themselves, which can create significant self-esteem issues.
When a drastic change to a family occurs, children are prone to think this change is their fault somehow. Provide your children with the regular reassurance that they are not responsible for the divorce, and that both of their parents still love them as much as ever.
Children are not messengers or spies
Parents should never expect their children to become the middleman between ex-spouses. A child should not have to tell their other parent something, nor should someone force them to report one parent’s actions to another. By keeping your children out of the divorce as much as possible, the better they can move forward.
Children come first in a divorce
It can be easy to focus on personal needs and goals in a divorce. Parents have lawyers to fight for them, and children only have their parents to look out for their needs. At every stage of a divorce, the needs of the children need to come first.
When parents keep their children as the main priority through a divorce, it can help a child get through that difficult time with the love and support they need.