Parenting: Protecting Kids During Divorce

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Parenting: Protecting Kids During Divorce - as part of the expert series by GeoBeats. Hi, I am Dr. Laura Markam from ahaparenting.com. We are talking today about divorce. What are five things that parents can do to protect their children when they are getting divorced. First, immunize your child emotionally. What do I mean? Well, we call it emotion coaching. Essentially we would listen to our child’s emotions and you can bet your kids are going to have a lot of feelings about a divorce and that means we cannot be defensive, we have to, really, let our child have those feelings. Your child’s life is getting turned upside down, naturally there is going to be some rage, there is going to be frustration, there is going to be grief and we need to tolerate those feelings and let our child express them. Right? Emotion coaching. Second: Work out a good relation with your ex. I know that sounds crazy, if you could work out a good relationship you would not be getting a divorce, right? But actually the conflict between the parents when it goes on after the divorce continues to affect the child. So, it is imperative. You may not be able to live together, ok. You may not be in love with each other, ok, but it is imperative that you work out a good relationship because you will always be linked as the parents of this child and your child deserves to have you not be fighting through the child and your child deserves not to pick up tension when there is a drop off going on or both parents come to the school play or you are negotiating about who gets the kid for Thanksgiving. Third: Deal with your own emotional baggage. Well, that is probably pretty apparent because there is no way you are going to be able to emotion coach your child and have a good relationship with your ex unless you deal with your own emotional baggage. And I would like to say unpack that baggage so your child does not have to carry it. Fourth: Joint custody or some other arrangement where your child gets to see both parents as much as possible. One of the worst risk factors for children is when Dad leave and do not stay involved in kids lives. It is actually worse for children than if their father died. And the reason is kids who die, kids whose father dies do not have a choice but kids whose father leaves, that father had a choice and chose to abandon that child and that child, for the rest of his or her life, feels like he was not good enough for Daddy to stick around and love him. Fifth: Stability. Your child’s world is turning upside down; the least you can do is make sure that he stays in the same neighborhood with his friends and his school. That as much as possible he gets the same things happening to him, that at Christmas the same rituals are observed, he gets to go see Grandma and Grandpa. You know, whatever is really important in his life, as much as possible, needs to stay the same. Those are five things you can do to protect your child if you get divorced.

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