Though divorce has been cited for all sorts of poor outcomes for children, from higher rates of drug use to lower performance in school, it doesn’t have to be that way. Child psychiatrists advise parents in Tennessee to keep a few important issues in mind in order to lessen the effect of divorce on children.

It’s important for children to understand that they didn’t cause their parents’ divorce, nor could they have stopped it. Without this understanding, children can feel guilt and anxiety that their parents’ divorce was their fault. Ideally, parents should not even tell their children about their divorce until everything has been settled. Children will have a lot of questions, and they will feel more secure if their parents are able to provide them with definitive answers.

When parents are telling their children about their divorce, they should emphasize that both parents will continue to be involved in the children’s daily lives. Children need reassurance that they can continue to love both of their parents without having to choose sides. Parents should take care not to speak badly about each other in front of their children. Regardless of their feelings for each other, parents need to remember that children do best when they have a strong, close relationship with both parents, not just one.

Finally, children will thrive if their parents can set aside their hostility long enough to continue to attend important events as a family. Birthdays, school plays and sporting events provide the perfect opportunity for parents to show their children that they are still part of a family, even if its structure has changed.

Navigating through all of the important issues of divorce such as child custody, parenting plans and child support can seem overwhelming. Parents may benefit from the advice of an attorney experienced in dealing with all aspects of family law.