10 Steps To Help Your Children Through Divorce


There are no ex-parents, only ex-spouses. You will be parents forever.

1. Tell the children together and/or separately about the divorce.

Use age-appropriate language about how each parent looks at the past and future. Know how to tell the children. It's not "we no longer love each other, so we are getting a divorce" or "we'll always love you." This is not enough. Explain each parent's reasons and point of view without badmouthing the other. Describe in detail how you will arrange visits, special events and parent the children.

2. Mediate, do not litigate your divorce.

Litigated divorces damage children. The research is filled with psychological, emotional and spiritual damage. Our mediation puts the co-parenting agreement as the first agenda item and teaches parents how to work together for the future of their children.

3. Don't badmouth.

No matter how bad an ex has been or how you have become enemies from a litigated divorce, saying negative things about the other parent has proven to damage a child's self-esteem. Children need to feel that it is okay to love both parents.

4. Continue to parent.

Don't fall into a popularity or overindulgence competition for your children's love. "Disneyland" mothers and fathers fail their kids. You will discipline, guide and teach your child. Parents are the crucial teachers in a child's life.

5. Keep the focus on family.

All too often parents become naturally involved in new jobs, seeking new relationships and family eternals. Maintaining your role as mother or father needs your attention. You are beginning a new life, and so are the children.

6. Go slow with significant others. Friends first.

7. "Step" relationships can cause rejection and conflict.

8. Do not use the children as messengers.

You know what happens to messengers.

9. Do not use the child as a confidant.

10. Create safety.

Encourage your child to talk as openly as possible about his or her feelings, positive or negative. You can say "dad things" and "mom things" that are confidential and will not be used against the other parent, no matter what.