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 even 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, it's important to maintain similar rules in both homes.

Counseling can help

You might feel so hurt or overwhelmed 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 through a social service agency or mental health center. If you and your spouse need 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 has significant behavioral issues, seems depressed or has trouble adjusting to the divorce after the first year.

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 could mean putting your child's needs ahead of your own wishes or desires.

Also, remember that a bitter or prolonged custody battle could take a serious, long-term toll on 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.

Mar. 08, 2014 See more In-depth