Divorce is hard on all persons involved. This is especially true for the child(ren) whose parents are divorcing. While a parent may rightfully have feelings of hurt and anger towards the other parent, it is important that they not to put the child(ren) in the middle of the conflict or use the child(ren) as a weapon.
Children are very perceptive and are often smarter than they are sometimes given credit for. Therefore, they will have likely have already picked up on the tension and issues between their parents. They will likely be sad that their parents are getting a divorce but not necessarily surprised. They will have questions and thoughts about what is transpiring and will need both of their parents to help them transition to their new normal in a healthy manner.
- Reassure them that they are not the reason for the divorce
- Answer their questions truthfully in an age appropriate manner
- Let them know that they are loved by both parents (even if you do not feel that way)
- Set up counseling for them if they need it
- Lie to them
- Badmouth the other parent in their presence
- Engage in conflict with the other parent in their presence
- Undermine the other parents authority
- Use them as an intermediary between the other parent
- Pass communications to the other parent through them
Surviving a divorce without destroying your child(ren) is very much possible. I would go so far as to say that is should be a parental requirement. You and your spouse may no longer live together under the same roof, but you will always be your child(ren’s) family. They will take their cues and direction from you. Therefore, I would urge you to put them on the best path possible.