When parents decide to divorce, they may want to do everything in their power to help their children through this difficult transition. Whether the parents decide to share joint physical custody, or if one parent has sole physical custody and the other parent has visitation periods, the child will need to adjust to transitioning between two different homes and residing with only one parent at a time. It is important that parents help their kids adjust to their new lives post-divorce.
First, for parents who share custody, co-parenting in a cooperative, amicable and responsible manner is of the utmost importance. Conflict and hostility between parents only increases a child’s distress over the divorce. This could cause the child to act out. Even minor tension between parents post-divorce can negatively affect their child.
More subtle forms of conflict can also harm the child. For example, putting the child in the middle should be avoided. Parents should not try to make the child choose them over the other parent, or have the child serve as a go-between regarding communication between parents. This could cause the child to become depressed or anxious. Instead, parents should maintain a healthy relationship with their child and respect their ex’s right to spend time with the child.
Children thrive from stability, so it is important that parents agree on common rules and discipline. This can help a child adjust not only to living in two separate households but could also help the child’s academic performance if the child goes to school.
Ultimately, parents need to provide their children with coping strategies, and they need to make sure their children feel safe. Sometimes this means seeking professional help. This may mean the parents attend a program that will educate them on co-parenting post-divorce, and that the parents and children receive help from a therapist.
When parents are going through a divorce, they will have to make child custody decisions that are in the best interests of the child. These decisions and the parents’ behavior can affect a child post-divorce. For this reason, parents should do what they can to mitigate the negative effects their divorce may have on their child, so their child can grow and thrive in their new living arrangements.