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by Scheherazade Rastegar
Divorce is a time of crisis for you and your family. It is a time when being a parent and balancing the myriad emotional, legal, and financial challenges can seem daunting. But it is also a time to refocus your energies on your children. It is your responsibility as a parent to protect your children during your divorce. Here are five steps you can take to help make your children’s transition easier:
1. Don’t put your children in the middle. Remind yourself that your children are not your messengers and they are not there to support you emotionally. An abundance of resources are available to guide and support you through this process. Find a divorce support group in your area, confide in caring friends and family members, and consult with professionals like divorce coaches and divorce therapists to help you move on.
2. Encourage your child’s relationship with your former spouse. Just because you are divorcing, doesn’t mean your children have to sever ties with your former spouse. It is detrimental to your children’s emotional wellbeing to feel as though they have to pick sides. Deter feelings of abandonment by planning for your children to have regular and consistent contact with both parents.
3. Maintain stability in routines, school, and residence. It’s not always possible to maintain complete stability, but it is important to focus on making your children feel safe and secure during this difficult transition. Do your best to maintain regular schedules and minimize disruption to your children’s lives and activities. A divorce mediator can work with you and your spouse to create an effective parenting plan that will ensure continuity in your children’s lives and schedules.
4. Explain, clearly and frequently, that they are not at fault. Children may not necessarily be able to express or articulate the pain and sadness they feel during their parents’ divorce. They often blame themselves and feel guilt over the divorce. It is extremely important to emphasize to your children that they are not the cause of your divorce. Remind them frequently that they are loved.
5. Model positive behavior. We know, easier said than done. But keep in mind before you engage in an argument in front of your kids that you are actively modeling how to communicate, express feelings, and respect one another. Divorce doesn’t have to be nasty. Divorce Mediation is a tool available to help you and your spouse reach settlement outside of litigation and establish positive ground rules for future communication.
Remember, divorce is different for every family. You have the option and ability to take control of your divorce, make positive decisions, and make your children your mutual priority. Doing so will allow your children to grow into healthy adults – a goal for every co-parenting team.
Scheherazade Rastegar is an attorney, mediator and executive director of MAC Services Group, a boutique dispute resolution firm based in downtown Los Angeles. Her firm specializes in Divorce, Elder Care, Employment, and Personal Injury Mediation. Visit MAC Services Group online at www.mac-sg.com, or contact Rastegar directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or (310) 279-6102.
Good article! While all of these suggestions are not easy to follow, they are important. After all - it is not childrens' fault a marriage founders. They need to know they are loved and safe. And for their emotional well being, they also need to get to know each parent on their own. No value to getting in the middle.........
by Karen Tsinikas
02/07/2013 - 02:50 pm
Remember, it's not the child's/children's fault that your relationship didn't work. Keep the environment as positive as possible for them and do not tarnish the child's/children's respect for their Parent(s).
Los Angeles, Ca
01/23/2013 - 05:27 pm