What Young Children Need from Parents during Separation

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I found this from the California Courts and thought it was pretty informative so I’m sharing it here.
Children going through divorce or separation have certain needs. Although there are no foolproof ways to raise young children before, during, and after a separation, you and the other parent can help your children cope better with the divorce or separation.
Most families are more calm and stable 2 years after the parents separate. However, your children need your help now to get used to the changes in their lives.
All types of families can give young children what they need. Parents do not have to be perfect. Even so, when parents live apart, young children need them to:

  • Give them warmth, affection, and love.
  • Understand their needs and feelings, but set limits to help them grow up.
  • Know the children well and spend time playing with, teaching, and caring for them.
  • Make sure that caregivers (babysitters, daycare centers, family members, etc.) are stable, reliable, sensitive to the children, and accepted by both parents.
  • Control any negative feelings, especially in front of the children.
  • Share information with the other parent regularly and with respect.
  • Decide which parenting decisions need to be made together and which can be made by 1 parent.
  • Solve problems and disagreements that affect the children.
  • Give them enough food, clothes, toys, and equipment.
  • Give them good medical care and education.

It helps children if their parents feel good about themselves. Grandparents, other family members, and close friends need to support both parents and be dependable, sensitive, and helpful “advisors.”
No matter where your children are, they need to be with adults who:

  • Are warm and comforting,
  • Listen carefully,
  • Help them make sense of the world, and
  • Give them interesting things to do and think about.

Your children will do best if you and the other parent respect each other and support each other as parents. Do not show your anger in front of your children. Try to find ways to work out your disagreements with the other parent.

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