By Mike McCurley
Copyright the Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML)
Reprinted with Permission
Divorce is never easy on kids, but there are many ways parents
can lessen the impact of their break-up on their children:
1. Never disparage your former spouse in front of your children.
Because children know they are "part mom" and " part dad," the
criticism can harm the child’s self-esteem.
2. Do not use your children as messengers between you and your
former spouse. The less the children feel a part of the battle
between their parents, the better.
3. Reassure your children that they are loved and that the
divorce is not their fault. Many children assume that they are to
blame for their parents’ hostility.
4. Encourage your children to see your former spouse frequently.
Do everything within your power to accommodate the visitation.
5. At every step during your divorce, remind yourself that your
children’s interests-not yours-are paramount, and act accordingly.
Lavish them with love at each opportunity.
6. Your children may be tempted to act as your caretaker. Resist
the temptation to let them. Let your peers, adult family members,
and mental health professionals be your counselors and sounding
board. Let your children be children.
7. If you have a drinking or drug problem, get counseling right
away. An impairment inhibits your ability to reassure your children
and give them the attention they need at this difficult time.
8. If you are the non-custodial parent, pay your child support.
The loss of income facing many children after divorce puts them at a
financial disadvantage that has a pervasive effect on the rest of
9. If you are the custodial parent and you are not receiving
child support, do not tell your children. It feeds into the child’s
sense of abandonment and further erodes his or her stability.
10. If at all possible, do not uproot your children. Stability in
their residence and school life helps buffer children from the
trauma of their parents’ divorce.