Divorced Parents Should Reaffirm Their Children
Divorced parents often overlook one of the most lasting effects of divorce can be the effects it has on their children. The child’s idea of security, family, and identity can be threatened. It can be an unsettling time, one which divorced parents should be sensitive to and strive to work together to lessen the negative effects divorce can bring on children. At a time when parents can sometimes get wrapped up in their own needs and wants, and burdened with their own hurts, children, from babies to teenagers, need parental support now more than ever.
The good news is your children don’t have to be ruined because they have divorced parents. With the appropriate information given at the appropriate time, children can begin to cope with the loss of their family as they knew it. With time and plenty of loving attention from parents, continue to grow happily and have meaningful, productive relationships with both of their parents.
Divorced parents’ behavior and attitude affects children
I’ve adapted the following advice from Rosalind Sedacca’s “Divorced Parents: 5 Ways to Avoid Scarring Your Kids”:
- Let your kids know it is NOT their fault! You may think they know this, but you need to TELL them!
- Change is inevitable in divorce, and in life. Embrace this and do not focus on placing blame.
- Don’t talk badly about your child’s other parent. The child loves both of you. Respect that.
- Let kids be kids. They are not your confidante, friend, ally, or private investigator to gather intel on your spouse. Don’t make them choose sides or be in the middle of your adult problems.
- Walk a mile in your child’s shoes. How you behave now, and the decisions you make, will affect your child for the rest of his or her life.
Divorced parents’ actions affects children’s relationships
Some great ways for divorced parents to send a clear message to their children that they are loved and they are safe in their relationships with both their parents:
- Send them little notes or cards in the mail, set to arrive on days they may not see you. Even in today’s techno world, kids will appreciate the physical card or note they get. Children will often save these and cherish them for years to come. That won’t be the case with a text message!
- When they’re with you, be sure you have cleared time to really interact with them, doing what THEY want to do. A weekend full of being shuttled around to your normal activities that are foreign to them, or leaving them with a different caregiver for lengthy periods so you can go do other things without them (not work-related), sends the wrong message.
- Show up. In most states, both parents have the right to be at any activity that involves the child, even if it is not your parenting time. Go to the ballgames, ballet recitals, choir concerts, spelling bee, school plays and open houses, or whatever it is your child is involved in. They won’t forget you were there for them.
- Be civil with and greet their other parent when you see them. If your child is with you when you run into your ex-spouse, they will quickly notice if you completely ignore their other parent. You don’t have to stand around having long conversations, you just need to be cordial.
- Don’t cause scenes in public in front of your children. The local grocery store is not the time to argue with on your child’s other parent about your latest concerns. It is embarrassing for your child and damages their relationships with both parents.