Children sometimes feel tremendous stress when they find out that their parents are going through a divorce. This might not be because of arguments between the parents. In some cases, children stress over not knowing what the future will hold. The change in circumstances can be a primary concern for them.
They might think that they are going to have to pick sides in the divorce. They don’t understand that they can still love both parents and that they will still receive love from both. It might help if you and your ex can come together to talk to them about the divorce. That way, you are showing them that you are still a parenting team — even though you aren’t still married.
You shouldn’t ever ask the children to serve as a messenger between their parents. Having to relay messages can lead to more stress because it might mean the child is privy to information they don’t need to know. They might also be concerned about misstating the message. Instead, communicate directly with your ex through verbal or written means.
Some children think they are the cause of their parents’ divorce. You and your ex must make it abundantly clear that you aren’t blaming the children for the split. They don’t need to know the dirty details of what happened between you, but you can let them know that it was an adult decision.
As you are working through the creation of the parenting plan, make sure that you consider the children’s needs. Having one that is set up for them to thrive can help them as they are learning to live with the new circumstances.