This year we have seen lots of celebrity break ups. There was Jon and Kate,
with their band of eight, Rosie O’Donnell and and Kelli Carpenter,
long time couples like Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins, John and Elizabeth
Edwards and Tiger and Elin Woods, just to name a few. While the media
focuses on the romantic turmoil of Hollywood’s elite, little attention
is given to the innocent-sweet faced casualties. The children!
Divorce is very difficult and an especially confusing time for children.
Couples often get caught up in their own anger, drama, the messy divorce
process, the desire for revenge and the division of property and finances.
But, who is looking out for the children and what are the effects of divorce
It is important for parents to foster children’s long term adjustment
to divorce. It is not only an adjustment for you, it is also an adjustment
for them. It is your responsibility as a parent to buffer the pain of
divorce and to reassure your children that it was not their fault and
that everything will be o.k. Don’t use your children as pawns in
I recommend to couples a Child Friendly Divorce. I suggest couples build
and nurture a good relationship with their children during the turbulent
divorce process. Spend lots of time with your children. Even more time
than usual, if necessary. Just because you are going through a divorce,
do not neglect or reduce the amount of time you spend with your children.
They need you now more than ever.
Don’t bad mouth the other parent! This temptation is hard for some
adults to overcome. Remember, your child doesn’t always feel the
way you do about your spouse. Your spouse is still mom or dad to your
child. Listen to your child. Resist the impulse to get your child to take
sides. Your side…
Initiate open communications with your child. Encourage them to speak with
you, to confide in you. No matter what. Accept how your child feels. Keep
stability in your home and in your life. Children need structure. Limit
the amount of changes you make in your children’s lives as you go
through a divorce. Make changes gradually and it’s important to
continue familiar routines. Always be available for your child and consider
counseling for them if you feel it would be helpful. I often advise couples
not only to consider counseling for themselves but for their children
too. Don’t rush to introduce your
children to people you are dating. Keep that to yourself.
As parents we can’t always protect our children from divorce, but
we cancomfort them, provide them with support and the tools necessary
to understand, and to hopefully overcome the pain of divorce. Remember,
divorce is a family affair. It’s not only about you! Don’t
let your children get lost in the process!