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Advice From the Front Lines- Advice from Adult Children of Divorced Parents

August 23, 2012

image Clare Bloomfield /

To Parents:

Keep your differences away from the kids so they don’t have to listen to it, and don’t make them make choices or choose between each other and don’t screw with the kids’ minds.

Don’t put the kids in the middle; don’t make kids the jury; don’t make visitation difficult; don’t speak ill of the other parent.  Kids don’t care whose fault it is.  Don’t blame each other.  Each of you is responsible.

Keep your differences private.  Don’t let the kids hear it and don’t make the kids feel guilty.  Don’t make one be the messenger for the other.

No matter what the cost to you, no matter how much it hurts, it is so important that you not bad-mouth the other parent in front of the kids.  Please, be civil in front of your kids.

Get over yourself enough to quit being so selfish.  Any two people can get along if they’re selfless enough.

I think it’s important not to say things about the other spouse in front of the children.  As a child, I really looked up to both my parents, and when one of them would say something bad about the other, it would put me in the position of agreeing and thinking something bad about the other parent, or disagreeing and putting me in conflict with the parent.  That’s hard for parents to do, but I think it’s really important.

Put feelings aside so that your kids can have a childhood.  Remember that the kids are first.  In the long run, they’ll remember whether or not you kept that in mind.

Get along.  Worry about the kids, not who gets what money or who gets the couch.

Make sure that you call your kids.  Call your kids and be a humongous part of their life.

Just because you do not live in the same house does not mean that you do not need to have equal responsibility.

Always talk to your kids as far as what’s going on and what’s happening.  If things seem scary, still tell them how it is; don’t sugarcoat it at all.

Be sure your kids know that the issues at hand are your problem and have nothing to do with them.  I don’t think you can say that enough times to a child.

Keep using love word as much as possible, because I think that when some kids go through divorce they do think it’s them.

Stay involved in your kid’s lives.  Don’t move across the country.

Don’t stay together just for the children, because they’re smart.  They can feel the tension; they can feel what’s going on around them.  And that could be more detrimental to them than the parent leaving.

At the time it might all seem negative, but as I look back I think there were a lot of positive things that happened in my life because of the divorce.  Not because they didn’t get divorced.

Get over it and move on!  Life is short!

 From “We’re Still Family:  What Grown Children Have to Say About Their Parents’ Divorce,” by Constance Ahrons, Ph.D.  Put together by Paula Van Doren

8 Comments leave one →
  1. August 23, 2012 8:19 pm

    Reblogged this on Lesliehartlaw's Blog and commented:
    Excellent advice, and it sounds like it comes from Adult Children of Divorce, not Lawyers. I would like to share this with so many clients and friends!

  2. August 24, 2012 6:33 pm

    Terrific advice. I wish every attorney would provide it to their clients during their first consultation.

    • August 28, 2012 12:33 pm

      I wish they did too– but many see doing what they are asked to do as their job. PARENTS need to change. Getting advice from a professional with ZERO training in EI or human anything is a poor substitute for personal and/or spiritual growth. As bad as the legal profession is–and it is bad and getting worse–it is PARENTS who had the children and who CHOOSE to get into a battle. THIS is what needs to change FIRST–and is the logical place to ask for change. Think about it.

  3. August 25, 2012 2:26 pm

    I love your perspective on how the kids are feeling. I just started a blog as my ex and I have kept the family home and instead of the kids moving back and forth between homes, we do it. It’s been a journey for us but the hoping our kids will be better for it!

  4. August 28, 2012 9:49 am

    We greatly appreciate all your positive comments and links back to this article. It’s wonderful to have a dialogue about alternatives throughout the divorce process and ways to protect the children involved.

  5. August 29, 2012 12:01 pm

    Every family lawyer should blow this up and put on their wall!!

  6. Michael Toebe permalink
    August 29, 2012 9:56 pm

    Children are often not heard, either by the legal system that believes children are safer not being heard and by the parents themselves.

    While both parents have equal responsibility in raising happy, emotionally healthy children, it is an inarguable fact that in some families, one parent is the constant instigator and driver of conflict. They simply can’t get over their anger.

    That conflict can be difficult to impossible to manage well or resolve if the other parent is not educated and trained in emotional intelligence or comes naturally by it or learned the benefits and power of setting limits and boundaries.

    Such disadvantaged parents, either gender, would be well served and serve their children even more, by seeking and committing to self study in EI, psychology and conflict consulting.

    Thank you for sharing the letter.


  1. Protecting kids from your fights | Paul McGuire's Law Blog

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