In a booklet entitled “Stepping Back From Anger,” the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers presented the following tips for divorcing parents to help protect their children from the trauma and emotional stress of a divorce:
- Never disparage your former spouse in front of your children. Because children know they are ‘part Mom’ and ‘part Dad,’ the criticism can batter a child’s self-esteem.
- Do not use your children as messengers between you and your former spouse. The less the children feel a part of the battle between their parents, the better.
- Reassure your children that they are loved and that the divorce is not their fault.
- Unless your former spouse was a molester, encourage your children to spend time with him or her. Do everything you can to accommodate the visitation.
- At every step during your divorce, remind yourself that your children’s interests, not your own, are paramount, and act accordingly.
- Resist the temptation to let your children act as your caretakers. Let your peers, adult family members and mental health professionals be your counselors and sounding boards.
- If you have a drinking or drug problem, get counseling right away. An impairment inhibits your ability to reassure your children and give them the attention that they need.
- If you are the non-custodial parent, pay your child support. The loss of income facing many children after divorce puts them at a disadvantage that has a pervasive effect on the rest of their lives.
- If you are the custodial parent and are not receiving child support, do not complain to your children. It feeds into their sense of abandonment and further erodes their stability.
- If at all possible, do not uproot your children. Stability in their residence and school life helps buffer children from trauma of their parents’ divorce.
If you are thinking about a divorce or have a custody, support or other family law issue, contact Adam S. Lutzke Law Offices at (317) 258-7809, or at [email protected].