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What does a child of divorce really need?

With the stress and paperwork of divorce, parents can sometimes get caught up in their own feelings and forget the needs of their children. A recent article in The Huffington Post presented the needs of children of divorced parents in a very interesting way: as if a child is writing his or her parents a letter detailing his or her needs.

So what does a child really need from his or her parents during and after divorce? A lot of the requests center on communication. Children want to be able to stay in touch with their parents even when they are not physically near them. Equally important is the actual physical time spent together. Both of these make the child feel important, wanted and loved. It's important for a child to understand that you have not forgotten about them.

Still on the topic of communication, it’s important that parents learn to communicate with each other. A child does not want to be the middleman or messenger when it comes to communication between two exes. A child also does not want to feel like they have to take sides. You may feel justified in badmouthing your ex to your child, but remember that your child is a mix of both of you, so if you are insulting your ex, you may equally be insulting your child.

Finally, provide a safe and fight-free environment for your child. When parents fight about topics related to child custody or child support, the child may feel guilty or may feel they did something wrong.

Source: The Huffington Post, “A Letter From a Child of Divorce,” Honoree Corder, June 30, 2014

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