Guidelines for Parents
When looking at the sticky subject of divorce and how it affects a child, consider that the correlation between the parent's coping skills and the child's coping skills is very different. Divorce is a time to grow as a person. It is not a time that should be spent in constant misery. Throughout the divorce and the time following it, the parent must be aware that it is possible to be a nurturing, and loving parent. It is a time when a child needs both parents. Remember, your child's self-esteem does not have to be diminished by divorce, in fact, it can be a time when the child's self-esteem can be strengthened. It will take hard work on the part of both parents for a child to grow up emotionally healthy.
1. The parent should not constantly discipline the children for every act. The parent should also listen to the child's point of view. Show them that you care for their feelings and not just your own. There should be a give and take relationship between parent and child, especially when faced with divorce.
2. Give your child some time to adjust to the new lifestyle. Children more than the parents need some time to cope with the changes that will be taking place as a result of the divorce.
3. It is important for children to know that they are not the reason for the divorce. Many children, usually the younger ones, feel that they have done something wrong and caused their parents to separate.
4. It is important for you to know your ex-spouse is the parent too. Divorce may mean that the spouses have separated, but it does not mean that either one is no longer a parent to the child.
5. Avoid using the children as spies. Arguing that continues following the divorce can be detrimental to children. Neither parent should voice their true opinions about their ex-spouse. Parents shouldn't force a child to take sides. It is not fair for the child to be put in the middle of something that they have no control over.
6. It is good that children follow a routine schedule. They need a stable environment where they can anticipate what will be happening in their lives.
The Rights of Children
1. Children have the right to spend time with each parent. Children need both parents in order to develop emotionally.
2. A child should not be forced into taking sides with either parent.
3. Children deserve to know from both parents that they will follow through on any child-care plans. If the parents have made any commitments to their children they should live up to them for the sake of stability.
4. A child should be able to spend time with each parent. Children need both parents and needs to know that both parents are there at any time they are needed.
5. Children should be entitled to their own personal sleeping area at each parent’s home.
6. A child needs to know that the parents are there for an open conversation. Children must talk about certain issues when they are growing up, and this will continually come about as they age and interact with an ever increasing peer group.