Parents in Washington who are going through a divorce should tread carefully when speaking with their children about the separation. While parents should be honest with their children, there is a difference between lying and using discretion. Kids do not need to know the details of every argument between their parents, and they should not be involved in discussions about custody, legal battles or other issues of contention.
The biggest thing that children of divorce need from their parents is love and reassurance. If parents let themselves get consumed in their animus for their ex, they may wind up making their child feel neglected. Some children also tend to blame themselves for their parents’ divorce, even if it is just subconsciously. It is a good idea to let the kids know that the divorce is not their fault and that both parents still love them, even if they will not be seeing the children as often because of a custody split.
Along the same lines as excluding children from the details of any disputes, parents should never make their kids feel like they must take sides. Even if a child reports back to one parent about something the other parent did that he or she did not like, the parent should not voice an opinion on the other parent’s behavior and instead talk to the other parent in private. Presenting a divided front encourage children to play parents against each other and feel like they must always take sides.
There are many resources out there for parents who want to read more about how to help their kids get through a divorce. For the legal aspects of a divorce, such as how to split community property equally, it may be a good idea to consult with a family law attorney.