Children are harmed when parents:
- Encourage children to choose between them.
- Make promises they do not keep.
- Criticize the other parent to the child or in the child’s range of hearing.
- Use the child as a messenger or negotiator or seek information about the other parent from the child.
- Withhold access to the child for any reason unless there are safety concerns.
- Involve the child in the court process or share legal information.
- Introduce a new partner without adequate preparation. Remember that children need time to grieve the loss of family as they knew it and may not be ready to accept a new partner.
Parents should remember that a child’s experience of divorce differs from their own. A child can often benefit from participation in school-based groups for children of divorce. Some children have greater difficulty in adjusting to their parents’ separation. If your child exhibits troublesome behavior over time, consider seeking help from a specialist experienced in dealing with child development and divorce.
It may be helpful to refer to the information you received at the Parent Education Program. Many helpful age-appropriate books have been written to help you and your children through this difficult time. Your local bookstore and library are wonderful resources.