Dos & Don'ts for Parents in the Midst of Separation or Divorce
DOs and DON'Ts for Parents in the Midst of Separation or Divorce
From: Getting Yourself Together When Your Family Comes Apart: Coping with Family Changes - Janet M. Bender, M. Ed.
- DO let your children know that you care. Show them your love through actions.
- DO listen to your children. Encourage honest, open expression of their feelings without judging or trying to change them.
- DO tell your children the separation or divorce is NOT their fault. Adult choices are never a child's fault.
- DO reassure your children that they are safe and will be provided for.
- DO let your children know that is okay to love both of their parents. Support your children's relationship with their other parent.
- DO maintain consistent discipline and structure in their lives. Re-establish their sense of security.
- DO be dependable about keeping promises to your children. Maintaining your children's trust is important.
- DO inform your children's teachers about family changes. Update emergency contact records.
- DO seek professional help for yourself or your children if needed.
- DO keep your sense of humor. Laughter can lighten stress.
- DO work on establishing new family traditions and activities.
- DON'T argue, blame, or criticize the other parent in front of your children.
- DON'T use your children as messengers or spies.
- DON'T leave children in the dark about the details of their future, such as custody arrangements.
- DON'T use visitation or child support as bargaining tools with the other parent.
- DON'T expose your children to adult information such as intimate relationship details, financial concerns, or child support or court matters.
- DON'T allow your children to become counselors or confidants to your problems. Seek adult support from friends or professionals.
- DON'T allow your guilt to interfere with parental responsibility. Try not to be overprotective or use material things to compensate for their loss.
- DON'T expect your children to choose sides between parents.
- DON'T make your children responsible for making adult decisions.