California parents who are worried about helping their children adjust to a divorce can help by making sure that they do not say negative things about one another in front of their children. It is important for parents to be able to put aside their anger and work together to make sure their children do not feel that they must choose one parent over the other.
Children often have questions about the divorce. Parents should make sure that children do not feel responsible for the split, and they should try to talk to them honestly. However, it is also important to set a boundary so that children are not burdened with details about the divorce. Children should be able to express positive feelings about their parents and stepparents, and they should be encouraged to share both negative and positive emotions.
Children should be informed if there are schedule changes as a consistent schedule can be important in adjusting. However, if they want to spend time with friends instead of parents, parents should try to be flexible. Time with friends helps support their physical and emotional development. Older children may want some input into the parenting schedule. Children should feel that they can choose to spend time with one parent without upsetting the other.
Parents may agree to share custody, or they might create an arrangement in which one parent has custody but the other has substantial visitation time. Parents who negotiate a child custody schedule might be better able to create a plan that suits them and their children than if they had to go to court. However, they can still maintain a co-parenting relationship that supports their children if a judge creates the schedule. A family court will use the best interests of the child as the standard for its decision.