Children of all ages are stressed when their parents get a divorce. It is even more stressful for minor children who feel their own future is uncertain. They don’t know the impact the divorce will have on their own lives. Parents often make mistakes, generally unwittingly, that can make the process more difficult.
6 Mistakes Parents Make During Divorce
Some of the most common mistakes parents make during divorce include:
- Saying negative things about the other parent in front of the children. When you are dismissive of your spouse in front of the children, it makes it easier for them to take sides and children shouldn’t be involved in disputes meant only for the separating couple.
- Trying to justify the divorce to the children by telling them what the other parent did to cause the separation.
- Crying frequently in front of the children. This is very stressful for them and can make them feel helpless and even generate anger if you’re not in control of the situation.
- Children used as messengers for the other parent. This is not a good idea even if the message seems neutral like scheduling pick-up times between the two parents. Even if there was a small disagreement in what was relayed, the receiving parent could end up feeling discouraged or upset.
- Holding on to anger and not allowing the other parent to share important childhood school or social events.
- Not being honest with the children about what will happen next. An example of this would be to tell the children they will not have to change schools if that decision has not yet been made. Also don’t tell them where they will live if custody issues have not yet been resolved. These are just two examples of many that could come up.
Collaborative Divorce Can Help Parents to Avoid These Mistakes
There are three types of divorce processes: Traditional Litigation, Mediation, and Collaborative Divorce. In traditional litigation, the parents are involved in a negative legal battle where one ultimately wants to be the victor. Unfortunately, in this type of divorce, it is difficult to get the parents to focus (and rightly so) on the children and to avoid mistakes. That only creates additional stress.
With Mediation, or in a Collaborative Divorce, mental health or childcare professionals can be brought in to assist the parents in making a co-parenting plan, if necessary. The professionals help the parents learn how to avoid mistakes and focus on what is in the best interests of the children.