By Ed Sherman
Going through a divorce is no fun for anyone, but children are especially vulnerable. Divorce specialist attorney Ed Sherman reveals in his book Divorce Solutions: How to Make Any Divorce Better, the following 10 things you can do to make a big difference in how well your children survive.
1. Tell children the truth in simple terms with simple explanations. Tell them where their other parent has gone.
2. Reassure them that they will continue to be taken care of and that they will be safe and secure.
3. Your children will see that parents can stop loving each other. Reassure them that a parent’s love for a child is a special kind that never stops.
4. Spend time with each child individually. Whether you have custody or visitation, the most important thing to the child is your individual relationship with him or her. Build the best relationship you can. The future is built of many tiny moments.
5. Children feel responsible for causing the divorce. Reassure them that they are not to blame. They may also feel that it is their responsibility to bring their parents back together. Let them know your decision is final and will have to be accepted.
6. Divorcing parents often feel guilty and become overindulgent. Give your child love, but also give limits.
7. Your child is still a child and can’t become the man of the house or a little mother. Continue to be the parent to your child. Seek other adults to fill your own need for companionship.
8. Avoid situations that place a child in the impossible position of choosing between parents:
Don’t use your child as a way to get back at your spouse. Children can be terribly wounded this way.
Don’t say bad things about the other parent in hearing of a child.
Don’t say or do anything that might discourage the child from spending time with the other parent.
Don’t encourage a child to take sides.
9. You and your former spouse will continue to be the parents of your children for life. Pledge to cooperate responsibly toward the growth and development of your children as an expression of your mutual love for them.
10. Be patient and understanding with your children. Be patient and understanding with yourself.
Even though it may be the last thing you feel like doing, cooperating with your spouse during your divorce is one of the best things you can do for your children. They learn that conflicts can be resolved eventually, which is a valuable lesson.
About the Author: Ed Sherman is a divorce specialist attorney and award-winning author of How to Do Your Own Divorce in California. His books and software have saved millions of people billions of dollars in unnecessary attorney fees. Visit Nolo Press
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