New Jersey parents whose marriages are ending might be concerned about how they are going to help their children through the process. Parents should not hide the impending divorce from their children, and they should try to be together when they tell them. Children should be reassured that the divorce is not about them and will not affect their relationship with their parents. They should also be encouraged to communicate about their feelings and ask questions. If children do not initiate conversations about the divorce, parents should do so.
Parents should avoid speaking negatively about one another or involving children in any conflict. A parent should not try to use a child to manipulate the other parent. Stability and flexibility are key. This means that while things will not always go as planned, parents should focus on minimizing any discord for the sake of the children.
Children may also need time to grieve, and this may be expressed in a variety of different ways. In some cases, this could involve getting professional help for them, such as a therapist. However, in taking care of their children, parents should ensure that they do not ignore their own needs as well. Parents who do not practice self care risk burnout and being less effective in helping their children.
The irreconcilable differences that result in the end of a marriage may make it difficult for parents to negotiate a custody and visitation agreement or to co-parent, but it is in the child’s best interest that they do so. Mediation may help parents come to an accord. Parents may also be able to reduce the likelihood of some conflict by addressing potential issues in the parenting agreement.