Children of divorce can provide unique insights. I recently had a conversation with a young woman whose parents had divorced more than a decade ago, while she was still in her teens. Looking back, she said she appreciates some little (and not so little) things her parents have done since the divorce to make their divorce a “good divorce,” including:
- Continuing to use the words “mom” and “dad” when referring to the other parent.
- Recalling happy memories of the marriage and her childhood (not erasing the past).
- Welcoming updates about the other parent’s post-divorce life.
- Communicating directly with each other to plan family events, without putting the kids in the middle.
- Taking responsibility for their own individual happiness.
- Having the kind of relationship that allows your kids to relax at family events.
While these may sound like challenging (even impossible) goals if you’re in the throes of divorce, we parents love our kids more than anything. As the adults in the family, parents are responsible for modeling healthy relationships for their children. And, although it requires effort, it is possible to have a healthy relationship even after becoming unmarried.