DENVERJuly 21, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Everyone who has gone through a divorce has a war story to tell. So do the children.

Parents contemplating divorce need to put the children’s needs to forefront, according to child custody expert Marlene Bizub in her book Contentious Custody: Is It Really in the Best Interest of Your Children? (Indie Books International, 2017).

Bizub is a speaker and private consultant who has committed her professional life to working with children and families who are going through divorce and separation. She began her career as a psychotherapist, then worked nearly 20 years as an evaluator in domestic relations cases for courts in Colorado.

Drawn from her experience, the following are behaviors to avoid as your children adjust to the change in their family:

  1. Refrain from exposing the children to adult issues. They are children and need to be allowed to be children.
  2. Do not speak negatively about the other parent in the presence of the children, nor allow other persons to do so. They derive their identity from the two of you; when you put down the other parent you are putting down the child as well.
  3. Do not make your children feel as though they have to choose between the two of you. Allow them to express their love for both of you freely.
  4. Be sensitive in the manner by which you introduce significant others or stepparents into their lives. You might be on down the road from the separation mentally, but your children are not.
  5. Do not use your children to relay messages or deliver child support payments to the other parent. The children should not be used as your messengers.
  6. Be sensitive to the fact that the children may try to manipulate the situation. If they do not think the two of you will talk, you are creating an environment that is ripe for this type of manipulation.
  7. Provide reassurance to your children that both parents still love them and do not try to assume that you know how they feel. Even if you are a child of divorce, every divorce situation is different and individuals respond differently.