How parents behave during their divorce, and how they continue to communicate with each other and their children has a significant impact on the children post-divorce.
When children see their parents working to be good co-parents and communicative with one another, it gives them a feeling of stability and safety. When both parents set out to create a positive outcome from the divorce, it will result in a better outcome for their children.
If a child brings up that they are worried about something that is more of an adult concern, one or both parents can put the child’s mind at ease.
One parent can say, “You don’t need to worry about that. I’ll talk to dad about that. (Or I’ll talk to mom about that),” or “You don’t need to worry about that. That’s an adult issue that your parents will talk about it and take care of between them.” The child will be reassured that, in fact, their mom and dad are going to take care of it. The parents may not agree, but they’re going to come to a resolution so that it doesn’t have to become a stressor for the child.
The children also realize that there’s less of a chance of playing one parent against the other.
The first time that one parent calls the other parent to check on what was said by the child, it will bolster the fact that they are still a family post-divorce. When what was said comes back to the child they will then realize, “Oh, my parents really do talk to one another.” If the child tried to go to one parent saying, “Well, the other parent said, ‘X,’” they will quickly realize they can’t play one parent against the other. That is actually a security blanket for the kids as well, because they know that they are in a safer place. Whether you’re an intact family or not, children want boundaries, structure, and stability.
The more parents can have diplomatic and respectful conversations with one another – no matter the topic, the better it will be for the children.
You don’t always have to agree, but there’s a way to respectfully disagree. There’s also a way to quite possibly avoid an argument by simply sticking to the issues, in brief and informative communications with one another. The children seeing that behavior modeled in their parents will give them reassurance in what can feel like a very unstable period of time during the divorce. It will lead to a more positive divorce for the children and will have a significant impact on them in the future, not to mention a great start in post-divorce co-parenting for the parents.