Parents getting divorced will never be easy for the children in the family, but there are certain things that adults do that make the process much more difficult for them.
Understanding what makes divorce traumatizing for children can help you avoid unnecessarily making a difficult process harder for your kids.
Turning custody exchange into a parental battle
Just seeing your ex might get under your skin if your relationship ended on a very bad note. If they made you wait for the kids to return during their parenting time, you may feel like calling them out for their disrespectful behavior. Especially if the kids think they contributed to your fight because the fight occurred during a custody exchange, your disagreements can do real harm.
Trash talking your ex every chance you get
When your ex shows up late to drop off the kids hey, your first reaction might be to complain about their behavior to the children while you drive home or to call someone and let them know how frustrated you are.
Letting go of those negative emotions is a good idea, but doing it in front of the children is not. What you say can damage how the children view their other parent, you and even themselves.
Making them be the messenger
Even if your children are old enough that you can trust they can reliably pass the message on to your ex, that should never be their job. The two of you should establish direct communication, possibly through a parenting app, so that your kids don’t need to serve as intermediaries.
Trying to become the favorite parent
Attempting to solicit your child’s goodwill through gift giving, lax enforcement of the rules or acting like a friend instead of a parent happens frequently during divorces.
Parents become so worried about the household changes affecting their relationship that they lose sight of the bigger picture. Your children will continue to love you regardless of what happens during the divorce, but they need you to be a role model and an authority figure, not a peer.
If you always try to focus on what will be best for the kids, sharing custody with your ex can be a lot easier on your family.