Parents in California who are going through a divorce may make the process more or less difficult on their children by following certain steps. They should keep a conversation going with their children to make sure they do not feel they are to blame for the split and to support their relationship with the other parent.
Parents should also strive for consistent rules between households. They should not criticize the other parent or use the child as a go-between, and if the child criticizes the other parent, it should be discussed in a neutral way. Children do not need to be dragged into conflict between parents, used as a support by a parent or filled in on the details that led to the divorce. Parents should try to present themselves as a unified front to their children. Speaking negatively about the other parent could be damaging for young children and may backfire as children grow into adulthood.
While parents should keep an eye on children for signs of depression and support them in their adjustment, they should not allow their children to manipulate them because they feel guilty. They should not inform children of any parenting conflicts they are having or ease off on discipline out of guilt.
Negotiating child custody and maintaining a functional co-parenting relationship can be challenging for parents who are going through a divorce particularly if it is an acrimonious one. It may help to tailor the parenting agreement toward anticipated conflicts, such as how to handle vacations and holidays in custody and visitation arrangements.