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Tips for helping children through divorce

Michigan residents know that divorce that involves children is often a difficult and demanding process for an entire family. Sharing child custody is a challenge that requires a dedicated co-parenting approach. Children, regardless of their age, can be deeply affected by divorce, even when the process is amicable. Research shows that children of divorce generally experience better psychological health if they are in regular contact with both parents. Moms and dads can follow a few simple tips to make the process smoother for everyone involved.

Parents are encouraged to empathize with their children and imagine how they would feel if they were in the child's shoes. Many kids are afraid that their parents will abandon them or may even feel as though the divorce was their fault. Parents can reassure their children by pledging their unwavering support despite their feelings toward their ex-partner.

Additionally, adults should consider children's developmental stages when deciding how to handle a divorce. The children will relate to their parents differently as they age, and clear communication at all stages is beneficial. Parents should also remember to keep children out of adult arguments or disagreements, especially those concerning custody agreements or schedules.

Furthermore, maintaining a close physical presence is extremely important. Parents should make sincere efforts to stay in the same town, for example. This not only makes scheduling easier, but it also shows the children that they matter to both parents. Kids need a space in each home that they can claim so they feel comfortable in both environments. They need to feel as though they are members of the family at both homes. Ultimately, parents need to prioritize their children's needs and feelings to increase the likelihood of maintaining a functional relationship.

Seeking the help of a legal professional may help divorcing parents develop fair and successful co-parenting plans.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Parenting Well Post-Divorce," Marie Hartwell-Walker, Feb. 23, 2012

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