Divorcing parents are naturally concerned about the impact of the divorce on their children, and what better resource for those answers than children who have lived through a parents’ divorce themselves? The
asked eight writers who grew up with divorced parents to share their best pieces of advice:
You have not failed as a parent.
Many parents believe they have failed their children if they divorce. The truth is, if you can still be a good mom or dad as you go through the pain and stress of divorce, you actually gain credibility as a parent. If you are still there for your kids, albeit independently, you can provide a great example to them of how to persevere through tough times.
Don’t worry so much
When we reach adulthood, we all realize that everyone grew up with some kind of dysfunction in their family, whether or not their parents divorced. As long as you pour your energy into remaining a good parent for your children and creating a stable environment for them, they’ll be fine.
Don’t disparage your ex.
Children soak up everything and are especially attuned to strife between their parents. Don’t badmouth each other to your children. Your decisions and actions will shape their futures, so instead of pouring your energy into disparagement, use it to build a better life. This will teach your children resilience in the face of tough times.
Maintain a strong relationship with your kids
After a divorce, it is not uncommon for the noncustodial parent to drift away -- especially if the custodial parent remarries. Your children need both parents, so fight for your place in their lives.
Keep your children’s needs in mind.
Your children’s needs and schedules change as they grow older, and it can be stressful for them to maintain these as they move between two households. Be understanding of their time.
Treat your children with respect.
Realize that your children are unique individuals and each will respond differently to a divorce. Even if you don’t understand, it is important to give their feelings legitimacy and treat them with respect.
Allow both parents to be close to children
Many divorces leave lingering feelings of anger and resentment between ex-spouses, but adults need to realize that their children need both of them in their lives. Find a way to peacefully co-exist with your ex so your children can have a meaningful relationship with both of you.
When talking with your children about your divorce, strive to be honest. Depending on their age, the reasons for your divorce may need to be discussed later, but you can provide a basic understanding of why it is happening and how it will impact their lives and relationships.