Most people have their own opinions about divorce, but there is one fact that almost everyone understands. The divorce of parents is hard on children, regardless of what age they are. Even adult children can struggle emotionally when their parents decide to divorce.
If you have children at home, divorce can be particularly difficult because of shared custody and all of the disruptions that come with it. Without support, divorce can mean a lot of stress and struggling for children. Thankfully, there are things that you can do during divorce to help protect your children.
Agree with your ex to put the children first
While you may not agree about much of anything right now, you and your ex likely both want what is best for the kids. If the two of you can agree to prioritize protecting your children, you may find that your divorce is faster and easier for your family.
Don’t fight in front of the children
Watching parents screaming at one another is one of the hardest parts of divorce for children. All of that conflict raises their stress levels and makes them question their position in the family.
No matter how strongly you feel about something, you don’t have to discuss the issues you have with your ex in front of the kids. You can save that for a time when they are not around, like if you go to co-parenting therapy.
Don’t damage your children’s perception of your ex
Children idolize their parents and often view them as infallible. They will grow out of that with time. Watching your children turn their adoring faces to someone who cheated on you or abused you can be difficult. However, it is the bond between your children and their parents that matters, not your anger at your ex.
Your children probably don’t need to know the detailed explanation for why you choose to divorce. You shouldn’t speak ill of your ex in front of them or otherwise try to change the way they perceive their other parent.
Consider cooperative parenting if possible
One of the hardest parts about shared custody is how you don’t get to be there for your children on every holiday or birthday. If the two of you could agree to cooperate and share those special events, that can make divorce a lot easier for your kids. They likely want both of their parents present and will be grateful that the two of you put their happiness ahead of your feelings about each other.
Following these and other tips for peaceful co-parenting will not only help protect your children but will also protect your right to shared custody in your upcoming divorce by showing that you always put the children first.