Divorce is difficult for everyone in a family, and it is unfortunately very easy for parents to become so absorbed in their own struggles that they fail to provide the support and attention that their children require. Even though parents want to make their children the focus of their divorce process, they may let their emotions start dictating their behavior, which can lead to more difficulty for the children in the family.
The less conflict there is between parents, the less traumatic the divorce will typically be for the children overall. Reducing loud arguments and negative talk about one another is only the most basic way for parents to alleviate the stress their children experience during divorce. Many parents who take the two steps below will have an easier time mitigating the risk of damage often caused by divorce.
Identifying likely short-term needs
Parents planning for divorce may want to preemptively start looking for a counselor to speak with their children and other support services so that they have options in place as soon as they discuss the matter with their children.
Maybe the children will need a very specific schedule to help them adjust to the new living arrangements, or perhaps they would benefit from having more time with their favorite cousins. Parents who discuss how to provide short-term support and emotional release for their children during a divorce will have an easier time cooperating to meet their children’s needs.
Remaining united in supporting long-term goals
Older children often need more intensive guidance and financial support, and parents need to plan to provide for them across two households. Whether the children in the family dream of going to college or hope to learn a skilled trade, they will typically need help beyond when they turn 18 to become successful and fully independent adults.
Parents can discuss how they will continue to support their children even after their technical custody order and support obligations will end. This way, they can always keep those long-term goals in mind when addressing short-term issues, like a child’s temporary slump in academic performance or disagreements about what extracurricular activities would be appropriate.
In some cases, co-parents can even create a working plan for continuing to cooperate on holidays, birthdays and other special events even when their children are adults. When parents start viewing one another as important resources for their children and working cooperatively, the entire family will often benefit. Having a cooperative approach to shared custody that centers the children can help the whole family adjust to the new arrangements when such an approach is possible.