No matter who you are and what your situation is, if you go through a divorce, the process is bound to be painfully difficult. There are potentially complex matters such as the divorce settlement — which, in most cases, will require decisions from both parties regarding property division and spousal support. But when children are involved, the divorce can be even more trying.

So what can divorcing or divorced parents in Colorado do to prevent painful emotions from trickling down too directly to the kids? One thing is to try to think of the divorce as a step on the path to better self-understanding. Ask yourself questions. For example, “What part did I play in the dissolution of the marriage? And what part did my former spouse play?”

This kind of self-reflection can help divorced parents cope, as well as help their children cope. In order to convey a certain understanding to children, it is important for divorced parents to contemplate the tough times in a marriage. Knowing where you’re coming from and why a marriage didn’t work out is a solid first step to helping your children understand, too.

Parents are also in a better position to help children during and after a divorce if they are able to take responsibility for their own actions, as well as forgive themselves. Being honest with a child about your own role in the divorce is very important to the child’s development. Of course, honest discussions with children about divorce should always be age-appropriate, but getting to those honest discussions requires some reflection on the part of the parent.

In most divorces involving children, some hard emotions exist between the parents. And while these feelings may be completely valid, a reflective approach is usually best for helping your children understand why you and your former spouse can no longer live together. In the end, the key may be finding a way to let the children know they are loved by both parents, regardless of the parents’ differences.

Source: Huffington Post, “Divorce and Parenting: Teaching Valuable Life Lessons to Your Children,” Rosalind Sedacca July 12, 2012