Some parents think that remaining in a marriage for the children is a good idea, but the constant fighting and a negative home life can sometimes lead to serious psychological damage for the children. Going through their parents’ divorce can also have some negative impacts, but it’s possible to minimize the risk of this happening if the parents are willing to put the children first.

One of the most important things to remember is that you have to remain respectful in your communication with your ex. The mutual respect helps provide a sense of stability for the children, and it makes the situation much less stressful. It also shows them that adults can work toward a common goal even if they don’t get along.

Try to work out a co-parenting plan with your ex that provides consistency for the children. Some punishments might span both home, and the disciplinary structure for both homes should be similar if not exactly the same.

Never put the kids in the middle of disagreements with your ex. Instead, work things out when the kids aren’t around. Don’t use them as messengers. Instead, speak directly to your ex about things that are going on.

Try to explain things the kids need to know in an age-appropriate manner. They don’t need all the gritty details, but they need to know that the split wasn’t their fault. Discuss their feelings with them and help them find suitable coping mechanisms for what they’re feeling.

The parenting plan you work out with your ex should focus on the children’s needs. As they mature, those needs might change. You can work through a modification when it becomes evident that the current plan isn’t working.