While divorce can obviously be tough on the couple going through it, the process can have lifelong impact on the children. If the parents are not extremely careful, they can end up putting their children in the middle.
If you’re divorced or going through a divorce and have children, here are three tips to help minimize the effect of that divorce on them.
1. Don’t pass messages
Your child is not a glorified messaging system. Regardless of whether or not the message is negative, any messages place too much responsibility on your child.
And fighting through your child is a horrible idea. It forces your child to be the adult in the situation because you and the other parent are acting immature.
If something needs to be discussed, it’s best to discuss it between the adults.
2. Don’t bad-mouth the other parent
Obviously, you should not insult the other parent when talking to your child. But even a slightly sarcastic comment overheard by your child can have a negative effect.
No matter how tame the comment is, there’s a decent chance the child will interpret it as a put-down and may even blame themselves. That can have a long-term impact on your child’s self-esteem.
3. Listen to your child
The most important thing you can do throughout the process is actually listen to your child. Even if they’re not talking about it, look at the situation from their point of view.
Remember the long-term impact the situation will have on them. Listen to what they say, and pay attention to how they react. Adjust your behavior and communication appropriately.
At Family Builders, we offer a Co-Parenting and Divorce Class to help parents. Among other things, we talk about both the short-term and long-term effects of divorce on your children’s well-being. The class is an interactive, four-hour session held at our facility in Oklahoma City.
Learn more about our class on our website. Note that children are not allowed in the class, and Family Builders does not provide child care.