Divorce: Protecting Your Kids

by Norris Law Group on November 13, 2013

Divorce: Protecting Your KidsDr. Laura Markham is a mother herself as well as Columbia-trained Clinical Psychologist. On her website, she states that her work centers on two themes: 1. when we feel good, we’re better parents, and 2. quite simply, we can only give what we have inside.

She includes in the Parenting Tips section of her website a post entitled Divorce: Protecting Your Kids in which Dr. Markham offers 29 suggestions for actions divorcing parents can take to help children deal with the divorce:

  1. Reaffirm with [your ex] that your child’s emotional health is your mutual priority.
  2. Avoid fighting with your ex, even during the divorce negotiations.
  3. Model maturity to your kids throughout the divorce process by quickly resolving the financial issues and moving on.
  4. It is in the best interests of the child for both parents stay involved in the child’s life.
  5. Remember that your child did not get divorced.
  6. Before sitting down with your child to announce the divorce, plan what you will tell the kids so there are clear answers to any questions they have.
  7. Sit down together with the kids when you tell them about the divorce.
  8. Reassure kids they are not responsible for the separation.
  9. Reassure kids that you both still love them very much and that you both will be there for them and be an active part of their lives.
  10. Commit to your kids that as much as possible will remain the same in their lives (home, room, school, activities, friends, etc.) and that both parents will be there to support kids in their endeavors.
  11. Tell kids they can see the other parent whenever they want to.
  12. Don’t make promises you can’t keep.
  13. Don’t ask children to choose [with whom to live]. Never ask your kids to take sides, even subtly.
  14. Let your child[ren] rage, cry, and vent.
  15. Never say negative things about [your ex] to [your] kid[s].
  16. Never talk about each other in front the kids.
  17. Maintain appropriate boundaries with kids in your discussions (find support from other adults).
  18. Show up, no matter what is going on with your ex.
  19. Be there whenever your child needs to talk.
  20. Expect big emotions. This is a huge adjustment for your child.
  21. Help [children] develop a positive “understanding” of this big transition.
  22. Consider counseling, or become actively “therapeutic.”
  23. Maintain family routines, rules, schedules, and structures.
  24. Don’t relay messages through your kids.
  25. Remember that if your ex has a new girl or boy friend, your job is to insure that your ex still relates to your child.
  26. Take the high road.
  27. What if your ex abandons your kids?  Tell your child that Dad/Mom is having such a hard time that s/he can’t get in touch with…“love” right now.
  28. Remember that negative presence is worse than no presence.
  29. Put off dating for awhile.

For more information, see Dr. Laura Markham’s article entitled Divorce: Protecting Your Kids.

Attorney Graham Norris and his associates at the Norris Law Group serve the residents of Utah County and throughout Utah in the area of divorce. Contact them today at 801-932-1238 or online for a free consultation.

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