Children mimic the behavior of their parents. When parents are divorcing, children are watching and learning from their parents’ behavior. Parents try to teach their children how to share, how to listen, how to play fair and how to be honest and kind. When parents are divorcing, they often forget these rules themselves.
Parents need to remember to do the following:
• Acknowledge feelings such as fear, uncertainty and sadness by providing a safe space for children to share emotions and speak freely.
• Avoid speaking negatively about the other parent and encourage children to speak positively and share stories about their day or week at the other parent’s home.
• Keep children protected from adult conversations and arguments and avoid assigning blame.
• Keep children informed about what is happening and include them in decision-making.
• Provide and maintain routines for children that are mirrored in both parents’ homes.
Deborah A. Todd