As painful as it can be for a couple to end their marriage, this decision can become all the more painful when children are involved. That’s because they likely devoted considerable time and energy into building what they believed would be a strong and lasting family unit.

It can sometimes prove to be even more painful for their children, however, as they are suddenly confronted with both the dissolution of their longstanding family unit and the need to adjust to an entirely new dynamic. 

Parents in these situations will naturally do everything in their power to soften any blow and ease this transition into this new post-divorce reality.

For instance, the parent who moves out may go out of their way to make their new dwellings as welcoming as possible for their children’s weekend visits, while the parent with primary physical custody may dedicate one night per week to eating out at a favorite family restaurant.

As admirable as these efforts are, family experts indicate that there are actually a few relatively simple steps that parents can take to help greatly reduce post-divorce stress and facilitate positive emotions going forward:

  • Check in with your children periodically to see how they are feeling and offer the necessary support, taking extra care to reassure them that the split was in no way their fault as children can sometimes personalize divorce.
  • Resist the urge to speak poorly about the other parent, as it can confuse children, and cause them to experience both unnecessary confusion and conflicting emotions.
  • Don’t make excuses if the other parent fails to fulfill their obligations as it could create problems between you and your children further down the road.
  • Be certain to take care of yourself both physically and mentally, as it will ensure that you are really engaged with your kids and not just going through the motions.

If you are considering a divorce or have questions about a divorce-related matter like child custody, please consider speaking with an experienced legal professional as soon as possible to learn more.