Communication

  1. Reassure them that the separation is not their fault, that they will be cared for and loved.
  2. Communicate openly, encouraging kids to express their needs and concerns.
  3. Answer questions honestly and briefly, but without adding adult information.
  4. Avoid sharing details about the divorce such as what caused it, or terms of settlement. 
  5. Do not treat your child like an adult. Share personal problems with a friend or therapist.

Household Discipline

  1. Provide consistent discipline, maintaining rules, daily routines and schedules.
  2. If the child complains of stricter rules at your house, explain that they need to follow different rules at each home without being critical of the other household.
  3. Avoid trying to win the kids with spoiling. Instill patterns to promote long term health.

Respect for the Other Parent

  1. If the child criticizes the other parent do not take sides, but encourage the child to express those concerns clearly and fully with the other parent.
  2. Don’t criticize the other parent or their family or friends. 
  3. Don’t argue with the other parent when a child can hear you. 
  4. Don’t ask a child to give messages to, or keep secrets from, the other parent.
  5. Support your child in maintaining contact with friends and family on both sides. 

Time Apart

  1. Make regular contact by telephone or digitally when you are apart for an extended time.  
  2. Don’t interrupt their time with the other parent by calling too often or planning activities during their time together.
  3. Allow children to take favorite items back and forth between homes.
  4. Encourage children to love both of you and see each of you as much as possible.
  5. Keep in mind that your children have two homes, not just one.