4. Maintain a friendly (or at least civil) relationship with the ex. As difficult as it may be in many situations for the parents to hide their hurt or hostility toward one another, the children are healthier when they do.
Many parents today understand this and do not badmouth the other parent in any way in front of the children. This teaches the children that even though people don't always get along, they can still function and move through life in a healthy way. Divorce may be unavoidable, but teaching children how to navigate the aftermath is as important as teaching them to walk and talk.
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5. Allow the kids to continue being kids. In so many families of divorce, children ultimately take on more responsibility or roles that previously were handled by the parents or other adults. Whether it was becoming responsible for younger siblings because the parents now work more or even having to contribute to the family budget for older children, many parents now recognize that kids — even teenagers — are not adults and should not be taking on these kinds of adult responsibilities.
These families are finding other ways to allow their kids' lives to remain as constant as possible. This is often accomplished through the support of other family members, friends or even local community or faith-based organizations. Regardless of where the additional help comes from, these parents understand that it was not the children who made the decision to divorce and it should not be the children who are further penalized for their parents' decision.
We probably still have a long way to go when it comes to helping our kids get through divorce. But more and more parents these days "get it" and are doing the things necessary to ensure their children can work through the difficulty in healthy ways. This often requires creative thinking on the parents' part and perhaps even some input from outside parties. But the payoff of healthier, more well–adjusted kids is huge.
For more information about how parents can help their children get through divorce, check out Divorce from the Kids' Perspective.
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