Divorce brings many changes. For soon-to-be ex-spouses, many of the changes that accompany divorce are welcomed and positive. For children, however, the many changes that accompany divorce can be confusing and anxiety-producing.
Change can be difficult for children, especially when it concerns the separation and divorce of the two people whom they trust, love and rely upon most. While change is inevitable with every divorce, there are ways parents can communicate with their child and with one another that can help a child feel safe and secure despite the numerous changes including those related to living arrangements, everyday routines and child custody.
With every divorce, there are bound to be some hard feelings and conflict. However, for the sake of a shared child, it's important that parents are able to set aside their personal feelings towards one another and communicate in a civil and effective manner. The following are some things divorcing or divorced parents would be wise to keep in mind when it comes to ensuring for the wellbeing of a shared child.
- Communication - Don't argue or fight in front of a child. This is especially important if the argument pertains to the child. Any conflicts related to child custody and visitation matters should be addressed via written communications to help diffuse potentially volatile situations and ensure everything is documented should subsequent legal action be necessary.
- Make time - Regardless of how hectic, stressful or difficult life may be or become; a child needs love, support and attention from both parents. This is true even in cases where parents share joint physical custody. Taking time to attend a child's soccer game or call to ask how a child's day was goes a long way towards letting a child know that he or she is important and that mom or dad is thinking about them even if it's not their week or weekend with a child.
- Be empathetic - Even in cases where divorced parents continue to harbor ill feelings towards one another, it's important to keep the best interests of a shared child in mind. When possible, a child benefits from the involvement of both parents. Parents, therefore, should do their best to support and foster a child's relationship with an ex-spouse.
Source: The Huffington Post, "A Letter From a Child of Divorce," Honoree Corder, June 30, 2014