Divorce is difficult and trying for all parties involved, but no one should be
given more care and consideration than the children. Kids often have an
especially difficult time with divorce. In many situations, parents may
be so distracted by the emotional upheaval of their own divorce that they
overlook the effects that that same divorce is having on their children.
It’s vital that divorcing parents understand how children view divorce
and the way it affects their parental relationships. Understanding where
they are coming from and what they are going through is the most effective
way to minimize the emotional turmoil that they may be experiencing during the
The children are not getting divorced. Parents get divorced from each other,
but children do not get divorced from their parents. For a child…mother
is always mother and father is always father. There are no replacements.
Even when a parent is not in the picture, in a child’s mind, they
will always be part of the picture. Accept this, address it as necessary
and know that your child’s mind’s eye sees both you and their
other parent “in the picture” now and in the future.
Most children will naturally identify with their same-sex parent. Regardless
of divorce, daughters will identify with their mothers and sons will identify
with their fathers. Do not make the mistake of putting out the message
that they should not “be like their father/mother.” This could
stall their natural development typically at the time when they attempt
to step into adult roles of employee, spouse, parent, etc. Even if the
parent set a poor example, the child will still naturally identify and
act similarly, but will potentially attempt to remedy the “bad”
or poor behavior that resulted in negative situations for their parent
Don’t get caught in the trap of putting your children in the middle.
Even if the discussion isn’t contentious, putting the children in
the middle for methods of communicating with the other parent is a mistake.
In many instances, divorced parents will put their children in the middle
– allowing (and expecting) them to act as bridges for methods of
communication. This can leave them feeling pumped for information regarding
their other parent and can escalate into a battle for loyalty before either
parent realizes what’s happening. One-on-one communication is the
best method for post-divorce communications between parents.
Lastly, avoid attempting to “make it up” to your children.
Parenting out of guilt will not do your children any favors.
If you need assistance with putting an appropriate parenting plan in place,
please get in touch with the experienced Arizona divorce lawyers at
Arizona Family Law Attorneys.