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How to Protect Your Child from the Pain of Divorce

This article draws upon helpful information from the book, in the best interest of the child  by: Stanton E. Samenow.

One of the most difficult experiences for a family is the painful, emotional and turbulent process of divorce. So often we see loving parents, who want their children to smoothly transition through the divorce, and thrive in their new lives. It can be so difficult for parents to maintain this goal for their children, when divorces become conflict-laden, hostile and competitive.

Here are some tips to consider which will assist in creating a co-operative atmosphere between co-parents, and will greatly benefit your child as they adjust and adapt.

1. As difficult as it may be, try to remember the good qualities of the other parent. At one time you fell in love with these qualities.

2. Focus on what the other parent can offer your child, and try to avoid criticism. It is so important to a child’s emotional wellbeing not to be exposed to disparaging comments about their parent. These comments attack a child’s very DNA.

3. Consider that a co-operative attitude will go a long way in redirecting hostility, and creating a smooth transition for both you and your child.

4. Try to remember that your are not in competition with your ex-spouse. The emphasis needs to be on the best interest of your child.

5. As your child processes his/her grief and loss, it is so important that they receive lots of nurturing, as well as consistent, loving limits.

6. Resist the temptation to be a “Disneyland” Mom or Dad. Focus your time with your child on doing everyday things, which instills a comforting sense of routine and security. Engage in simple activities which provide a sense of family unity (for example cooking a meal together, visiting a library or museum, going for a walk or bike ride, doing a craft or building project together).

These important tasks can seem daunting in the midst of the emotional upheaval of divorce. If you would like additional support and assistance for you and your family, as you navigate through this painful process, please contact The Summit to meet with a caring, licensed professional counselor.

Article prepared by:

Danielle MacMillan, LCSW

Licensed Clinical Social Worker