Divorce can bring a huge number of changes into the lives of children in Alabama, but parents can help them through the process. It is important for parents to focus on what is best for their children and not on their conflict. Parents should avoid discussing one another negatively in front of the child and should instead focus on positively supporting the child’s relationship with the other parent.
Parents should keep children informed about any schedule changes. A predictable schedule can be an important element of helping them adjust. Older children may want to participate in creating the plan. There may also be times when they prefer to spend time with their friends instead of parents, and parents should keep in mind that this is important for their social and emotional growth. Children should also feel free to express their love for their parents and stepparents.
Sometimes, children may have negative emotions, and parents should support them in expressing these as well. Parents should give honest answers to children’s questions about the divorce, but they should also reassure them that the divorce is not their fault and that both parents love them. Parents should also avoid going into too much detail about the divorce, setting boundaries around difficult topics that should stay between themselves instead of being shared with the children.
Parents may struggle with this process as well. Negotiating child custody and visitation can be emotionally difficult, but parents should stay focused on what is in the best interests of the child. For some parents, this might be allowing the other parent to have custody. This does not preclude a generous visitation schedule. Parents can also include provisions in the co-parenting agreement to make the process go more smoothly, such as agreeing on certain household rules or how they will communicate about scheduling.