One of the primary duties of a parent is protecting your children. This doesn’t stop just because you go through a divorce. In fact, you’ll have to ensure that your child’s best interests are protected during the child custody process. You and your ex can do this as a team if you’re willing to work together.
There are many things you can do to help protect them right now. One of the most important is to see how the divorce is impacting them and try to minimize the effects. This won’t always be easy but it can go a long way toward helping them.
Minimize stress factors
Children can feel the impacts of stress around them. As their parent, it’s up to you to do what you can to reduce the stress that you’re responsible for. Try to avoid arguing with your ex in front of the children. Never use the kids as a messenger because they might feel as though they have to choose sides if they’re put in the middle of the adult matters.
As you’re going through the divorce and even in the period after it, you need to watch for signs that there’s something amiss. This can be minor issues like grades that dip or acting out a little bit.
Teens are often overlooked when a divorce happens, but they can be profoundly impacted by the split. Teens who are members of households with a single parent and those with blended families are 300% more likely to suffer from psychological impacts than teens who live with both parents. Of course, the circumstances that lead to divorce are often associated with negative impacts on the children so staying in a bad marriage likely won’t help the teen to fare any better.
Encourage important relationships
You need to encourage your child to have positive relationships. This includes the one they have with your ex. With very few exceptions, children should have meaningful relationships with both parents. They also need to be able to keep up with their friends and know that they can continue to spend time with extended family members even though you’re divorcing their other parent.
Because children need stability, you should carefully consider how you will implement schedule changes after the split. It might not be easy to keep a consistent schedule between both homes but the kids have a better chance of thriving if you can make this happen. Have specific terms for this in the parenting plan.