Susan Rossi Cook, Attorney and Mediator

Minimize the impact of divorce on your children with 3 tips

As a parent, you have always wanted to do what was in the best interests of your children. The last thing you wanted was for them to grow up in what you consider to be a broken household. You wanted their father to be with them and for you to be there, too. Sadly, that is not how things have worked out.

Now, your goal is to minimize the impact of your divorce on your children. It may not be easy, but there are three tips that can help.

1. Be prepared to explain and guide your child through divorce

The first thing you can do to minimize the impact of the divorce on your child is to be transparent (within reason). While you don't want to go into the nitty-gritty of why you're getting divorced, you do want to make it clear that the divorce is not the fault of your child. You want to explain what a divorce is and why it's happening. Be ready to answer questions and to help your child manage their emotions as they prepare to go through this change, too.

2. Never use your child as a messenger

You might be used to telling your child messages to pass to dad, but after a divorce, that can be frustrating for your child and ex-spouse. Make it a habit to talk to your ex-spouse directly whenever possible, unless doing so causes conflict. In the case that conflicts are common, you may want to consider having court-monitored apps or talking only through messages or emails to track what happens on paper.

3. Never fight in front of your child

Sometimes, arguments happen. There are times when they might happen in front of your child, too. However, it's important not to make this a regular occurrence. As often as possible, take steps to avoid conflict in front of your child, because you don't want to make them feel as if they're caught in the middle of their parents' fight. They may also start to take sides, which isn't healthy for their relationship with either parent.

By avoiding fighting in front of your child, never using them as a messenger and being more transparent and supportive, you can help your child as they navigate the divorce. It is your responsibility to provide them with the support they need and to help them as they gather an understanding of the situation.

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Susan Rossi Cook, Attorney and Mediator

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