Divorce is a difficult, emotional process to go through, no matter how long a couple stays together. When children are in the mix, the entire focus shifts. Even the most amicable divorces can become heated when it comes to children.
Good co-parenting often starts from day one. As both parents work to find a new normal with the kids as the primary focus, the Mayo Clinic provides several important facts when it comes to co-parenting.
When should the kids know?
When couples decide to divorce, the kids are often the first to notice something is wrong. While parents may want to put off telling their kids, they likely have already noticed something is wrong. Depending on the age and development level of the children, they should learn in an honest, open manner. Younger kids have a hard time understanding gray areas, so it may be better to tell them once the decision is final.
How should the kids find out?
In the best cases, both parents should tell the kids about the divorce. This presents a united front and allows the kids to think of the family as a unit, even though it looks different moving forward.
How can kids cope with two different houses?
Communication and stability are important when kids move from one home to another. Parents should communicate with each other rather than through the kids and both parents should know when the child is struggling. Medical appointments and school conferences are important for both parents. Jealousy and anger should not be a part of conversations with the kids.
While divorce brings many changes, it does not have to be completely negative. Parents who work together often find that their kids adjust better short- and long-term.