8 Rights Every Child Deserves After a Divorce
For any parent going through a divorce or separation, it's not hard to get caught up in various dramas encountered throughout this transition. Moving homes, splitting assets, determining a parenting agreement, and coping with emotions is exhausting. While it might feel at times like you and your co-parent cannot agree on anything, there is at least one thing you must agree on: to keep your children and their well-being at the forefront of any decisions you make or actions you take during this time.
In every divorce or separation where children are in the picture, there are certain rights that parents need to respect in order to protect the well-being of their children. While many of these points may feel entirely obvious, they bear repeating. Here are eight things that every child deserves during and after a divorce.
- Every child deserves the right to be just that: a child. Childhood is precious, and parents should do all that they can to provide their child with the basic right to a happy and healthy childhood.
- Every child deserves the opportunity to maintain and cultivate a loving relationship with both of their parents. Neither parent or adult in that child's life should take away or hinder the opportunity to have this connection.
- Every child deserves the right to stay connected with beloved extended family members without having to choose sides. Neither parent should pressure or try to sway their child's feelings one way or another.
- Every child deserves to live free from being burdened by any conflict or tension that remains between their parents. As parents, work together to shield their child from this.
- Every child deserves the right to be free from acting as a messenger between their parents. Parents should instead seek a means of communication that promotes effective, clear exchanges of information.
- Every child deserves to be free from having to bear the burden of acting as a sounding board or "therapist" for either parent. They deserve to remain free from having to carry additional emotional weight throughout this transition.
- Every child deserves the right to have whatever feelings they have during this difficult time. They should be free to say their feelings to both of their parents without guilt or fear. Parents should show their child how loved they are, listen to what their child says with full attention, and do all they can to offer the support their child needs to work through their emotions in a healthy way, even if that means enlisting the help of a professional.
- Every child deserves the right to maintain a style of life similar to before the divorce. If big changes cannot be avoided, the child deserves the right to know what will change in advance, whether it be a move, change of schools, or even remarriage of a parent.
While you may understand and agree with these eight basic rights that every child deserves after divorce, putting them into practice might not be as cut-and-dry as you would hope it to be. To help you and your co-parent give your child these rights, it's important that you find a way to manage shared parenting together. Parallel parenting is another option to help you ease into shared parenting with additional boundaries. Also, enlisting help from a professional, such as a family therapist, could help you to find a way to move forward in co-parenting that works for your family. No matter how you approach it, maintain your focus on providing your children with these basic rights in order to defend their well being for a long time coming.