Don't bend the rules
It might be tempting to relax your parental rules while your child grieves the divorce, but this could lead to more insecurity. Children thrive on consistency, structure and routine — even if they insist on testing boundaries and limits. If your child shares time between two households, try to maintain similar rules in both homes.
Counseling can help
You might feel so hurt by your divorce that you turn to your child for comfort, but that's not your child's role. For help sorting through your feelings, consider joining a divorce support group or seeking counseling. If you and your spouse needs help reaching decisions about your child during or after the divorce, consider using the services of a family or divorce mediator. Your child might also benefit from counseling, especially if he or she is showing signs of distress.
Put your child first
During a divorce, interacting with your spouse might be the last thing you want to do — but it's important. Your child needs both of you. Work out custody arrangements and other details with your child's best interests in mind. This will mean putting your child's needs ahead of your own wishes or desires.
Also, remember that a long custody battle will affect your child's mental health. Instead, help your child maintain a strong, loving relationship with the other parent as you work toward meeting common parenting goals. For your child, support from both parents might be the best tool for weathering the challenges of divorce.
Dec. 15, 2016
See more In-depth
- Children and divorce. American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. http://www.aacap.org/AACAP/Families_and_Youth/Facts_for_Families/Facts_for_Families_Pages/Children_and_Divorce_01.aspx. Accessed Nov. 15, 2016.
- Marcdante KJ, et al. Divorce, separation and bereavement. In: Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2015. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Nov. 15, 2016.
- Shelov SP, et al. Family issues. In: Caring for Your Baby and Young Child: Birth to Age 5. 6th ed. New York, N.Y.: Bantam Books; 2014.
- Cohen GJ, et al. Helping children and families deal with divorce and separation. Pediatrics. 2016;138:1.