When two parents are constantly fighting with one another, the children are the ones who suffer. For parents currently going through a divorce or breakup, it is important to keep this fact top of mind when moving forward as co-parents.

Jill A.F. Gasper, a clinical psychologist, recently spoke on the effect divorce can have on children. She was part of a panel discussion focusing on what divorced parents can do to provide stability and guidance for children. New York parents who are going through a divorce or breakup may be able to learn from some of the parenting advice she shared with a newspaper prior to the discussion. 

The first bit of advice is to avoid forcing children to have separate lives with mom and dad. Rather, as parents, mom and dad need to learn to work together and communicate with one another. After a divorce or breakup, they do not need to become best friends, but they should both know what is going on in their children’s lives. 

Positivity can also go a long ways, even if it is only one parent who is staying positive. This is especially important for parents to keep in mind when one parent is just not working as hard as the other to properly communicate. A great example of this would be if dad is trying to stay informed on school issues, while mom wants to push dad out of the picture. Aside from making sure to have a lawyer who focuses on fathers’ rights issues, dad should also try to remain positive. Who knows? Maybe the positivity will lead to an attitude shift for mom.

Lastly, when it comes to children of divorce, know that the real issue is not the divorce or breakup, but how the parents get along. Even if mom and dad were to stay married — but were fighting all the time — this would still have a negative effect on the children. So do not worry about the fact that you got divorced or ended the relationship, rather think about how you and your ex are continuing to show up in your children’s lives today.