There are many ways that Massachusetts parents can help their children adjust to divorce, and there are also actions they can avoid that could make the situation worse. For example, parents should talk to their children and make sure they do not feel responsible for the breakup. They should also monitor their children for signs of depression and keep in mind that this may manifest as acting out.
It is important to encourage children to maintain a relationship with the other parent. Parents should keep their personal feelings about one another to themselves and not involve their children in their conflicts. They should not try to get the children to choose sides in the divorce or to be messengers between them and the other parent. They also should not question the children about the other parent’s activities.
Parents should encourage children to engage in healthy distractions and carry on with their lives. They should try to establish consistent household rules with the other parent, but if they have disagreements, they should not tell the children about them. Children could use this information to try to manipulate the situation. Parents should also not allow themselves to be swayed by guilt into buying the child gifts or easing up on rules.
Child custody can be difficult to negotiate because it may be hard for parents to accept that they will not be able to spend as much time with their children. They might also find it difficult to separate their anger at their spouse from their assessment of the spouse’s ability to parent effectively. During child custody negotiations or litigation, parents should keep in mind that unless the other parent is abusive or endangers the child in some other way, most courts and experts will agree that it is better for the child to spend time with both parents.