Expert Blog Compelling advice, stories, and thought-provoking perspectives straight from YourTango's lineup of Experts to you

5 Mistakes That Divorced Parents Make (EXPERT)

Heartbreak, Family

If you want to make sure children don't suffer during divorce avoid 5 astounding mistakes.

I am a firm believer that divorce can be a really wonderful thing for children as they no longer have to put up with a relationship that is going sour day in, day out. There is however, a false assumption that children need to be with both parents, and I actually don’t think this is true either.

Who is to say that staying in an unhappy marriage is less harmful as taking action to end it?

In my view and having seen many cases, it’s not the event that is the issue, its how the parents deal with the issue and how it’s presented to their children that makes all the difference.

I have experienced close friends get divorced and do so in an amicable way that has really helped the children, I have also seen mothers let go of their anger towards the ex, to see the children grow up happy and healthy.

While working with women to get them over their ex relationships, I have seen 5 common mistakes that make divorce tough on the children.

1. Couples don’t put their kids first even though they want to
I have seen this so many times, where couples say they are putting their children first, when in reality they are not. Instead, the parent is putting their needs first before the children, and they use their kids as pawns to get what they want. In some cases I have seen where parents decide to bad mouth “the opposing party to the kids” or use their children as messengers to communicate with the other.

Instead – it may well be advisable to put the children first and come to an agreement with the ex-spouse what this looks like so that they are both working towards this outcome.

2. They don’t help their children through the difficult times
I have often seen parents not sit their children down (if they are of the age) to talk to them about what is going on and to discuss how the child is feeling. Having honest conversations or dialogues with the kids is really key because they may well be a lot of hidden upset, which is not being expressed. It’s important for kids to express what they feel so that the parent can work with it, otherwise their confusion and anger may well be channeled in destructive ways.

Instead – its important for parents to sit down with their kids to discuss what is going on  for the children to feel that they are free to fully express what they need to and that they are being understood.

3. Parents don’t learn about how best to communicate with one another.
I often see divorced couples getting their buttons pushed left right and centre, and then communicate in a way that reflects this. Reacting to one another and using the wrong sort of communication to do so will only spurn the wheels of resentment further.  This of course is felt and (in same cases) experienced by their children, affecting them negatively.

Instead it would be wise for parents to understand how they communicate and what to change in their communication patterns so that they don’t have to wade through another fight. There are a million ways to say one thing, so its about learning how best to say what you want to say in a way that will come in the guise as a response not a reaction.

To find new ways to communicate with your ex spouse download your free chapters of my new book Goodbye Mr Ex

4. Divorced couples hold onto the anger and resentments
I see this time and time again with my clients. They would prefer to be right versus let go of the anger and resentment that will not only hurt them, but will add fuel to the fire of the volatile environment that they have (consciously or unconsciously) decided to create for themselves and their children. I have seen ex-couples spend 100,000s in court fees, not only costing them financially but also emotionally. I have also see parents not allow the other parent not see their child (for no real VALID reason).

Instead, would it not make more sense to let the attrition go? To make peace with what has been done. The event has happened, the past is the past, why not start with forgiveness of the other, but more importantly – forgiveness of self.

5. Don’t seek help
I often see divorced couples going through the motions of getting through the tough times, but do not take the pro-active stance of seeking help. Instead they may confide in their children, which is not fair either. The responsibility of the parent is to look after them first and then their children.

Instead ask for help, seek council if it is getting all too much. You don’t have to do it on your own and there are all sorts of resources out there to aid you in healing the wounds.

To find the help you need to de-stress and let go download your free chapters of Goodbye Mr Ex - A Woman's Guide To Moving On.

In short, its important for divorced parents to make sure that they look after themselves first by letting go of the anger and blame (however hard) so that they can do their very best to be their for their children.

If you wish to connect with me to read my blogs and download your free ebook The 7.5 Mistakes That Women Make To Stop Them Moving On From Their Ex please do so at


Explore YourTango