Behavior Expectations for Children of Divorce
Divorce is a difficult situation for parents and children alike, and just as Mom and Dad have to pay special attention to how they treat their kids—and each other—the kids themselves can make the new arrangement far easier to live with if they can handle themselves in a healthy way. But unless they've had previous experience with divorce, your children probably won't know what that means.
At some point after the divorce becomes a reality that everyone has to deal with, you may want to discuss with your child your hopes and/or expectations for how they'll handle themselves through this difficult time.
It's fair for you (fair for both you and your kids) to share the following expectations with your children:
Don't play us against each other.
Treat our new romantic interests with the same courtesy you extend toward all our guests.
Don't assume that our dates wish to steal our affections from you.
Don't ask us for details of what we do on or with our dates.
Never brag about one parent's "new friend" to the other parent.
Put yourself in our shoes. We, too, may feel angry, confused, scared, lonely and betrayed. We should try to help each other rather than hurt each other.
Give stepparents a break. It's as hard for them as it is for you.
Don't get caught in the middle of our arguments. Feel free to leave the room if you feel like you're getting caged in.