Children of Divorced and/or Separated Parents

  1. Reassure your child, frequently if necessary, that they were in no way responsible for the separation or divorce and that both parents love them and that they will always be provided for.
  2. Spend extra time with them and ask what they need from each of you (you may not be able to give them everything they want but allow them to express their feelings).
  3. Children should not be over exposed to the details of why the marriage has or had specific problems.
  4. If an announcement has to be made regarding marital status, living arrangement etc. it is better if it comes from both parents simultaneously acting as one unit.
  5. Children should not be exposed to negative comments concerning the other parent (remember they were created from both parents and if one spouse is damaged then that reflects on who they are).
  6. Children should not be used as messengers between parents (ie. tell your____that he can only see you on ____ ).
  7. Children should be sheltered from as much as the anxiety and depression etc. that each parent may be feeling (children often take on the stress of those they care about).
  8. Children should not be quizzed as to what occurred at the other parents house or when they are with the other parent or when on the phone with the other parent (they need to feel good about being with both parents and need an independent relationship with both parents).
  9. Children should never be put on the spot and forced to choose between parents!
  10. Avoid sharing secrets with the child as that only increases the burden on them.
  11. Parents need to demonstrate that while they couldn’t or can’t live together that they still are capable of providing for their children on both an emotional and physical level. They must be able to put aside their feelings for each other for the benefit of their children! While these guidelines can be applied to almost any population it is especially important with gifted children as they are generally more sensitive and reactive to these situations.
April 8th, 2010

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