When people in North Carolina get a divorce, they can do certain things that will make the transition less difficult for their children. For example, children might blame themselves for a divorce, but parents can reassure them this is not the case.
Parents should watch their children for signs of depression or anxiety. This might include asking the child’s teachers or friends about the child and remembering that some children might act out instead of verbalizing their emotions.
Children should be encouraged to maintain a relationship with the other parent. Parents should not try to force their children to choose between them or convince them of who was the wronged party in the divorce. They also should avoid questioning the children about the other parent’s activities or using the child to relay messages back and forth. They should try to make a plan for consistent household rules with the other parent, but they should not let the child know if there are conflicts over parental rules. The child might use this information to try to manipulate the parents. Parents should also not let guilt motivate them into actions such as buying gifts for the child or relaxing rules.
Divorce can be a difficult time for everyone, but by putting children first, parents may be able to help them with the transition. This may also help parents during the divorce process as they negotiate an agreement for child custody and visitation and create a parenting plan. In general, negotiation is better than going into a custody battle because it may help reduce conflict. Alternative dispute resolution methods may make an amicable resolution more likely. However, if one parent simply will not cooperate or a parent is concerned about a child’s safety, litigation might be necessary.