Thursday, October 29, 2009

Reducing Divorce's Pain on the Children

Some good ideas from Family Law Collaborative Divorce Blog's Ten Tips to Help Minimise the Pain of Divorce on Children

You can benefit your children by working cooperatively with your child’s parent to minimize conflict between you and employing the following ten tips

• Assure children that both parents love them. “I need both of you to stay involved in my life. Please write letters make phone calls, and ask me lots of questions. When you don’t stay involved, I feel like I’m not important and that you don’t really love me.”

• Only provide children with age appropriate information about what is happening in their family – in ways they can understand. "I want to know whether we are all going to be together for Christmas?"

• Children need reassurance that what has happened is not their fault. “When you fight, I think that I did something wrong and I feel guilty”

• Help children to maintain contact with both parents - and their wider family. “If you act jealous or upset, I feel like I need to take sides and love one parent more than the other.”

• Help to make transitions between both homes a positive experience so children can go easily between their two homes. “I want to love you both and enjoy the time that I spend with each of you. Please support me and the time that I spend with each of you.”

• Communicate directly with your spouse and never ask children to be messengers. “Please communicate directly with my other parent so that I don’t have to send messages back and forth.”

• Children do not want to take sides – don’t make them. “When talking about my other parent, please say only nice things, or don’t say anything at all. When you say mean, unkind things about my other parent, I feel like you are expecting me to take your side.”

• Children need their parents to make decisions. “Please remember that I want both of you to be a part of my life. I count on my mum and dad to raise me, to teach me what is important, and to help me when I have problems.”

• Children can cope with short-term disruption – as long as parents continue to support them?

• And finally …..Conflict is the major cause of unhappiness and poor outcomes for children.

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