There are many divorces across the United States and here in the Greater Seattle Area every year. Some of those divorces only affect the persons involved in the marriage, but many of them also have children involved. If you are going through a divorce and are worried about the mental health of your children, you are not alone. This is a common concern for many parents. According to Psycom, one of the most important things you can do for your kids is not use them for your own emotional support during your divorce.

Of course, you want to ensure that you have healthy coping mechanisms. This may involve regular visits with close friends or family members, or visiting a licensed psychologist or counselor. However, you will want to keep your own emotional turmoil separated from your children. This does not mean that you should not be honest about your feelings throughout the divorce process (on the contrary), but rather that you should give your children the space they need to process the divorce on their own terms. Your child is not your friend or your confidante and should not be treated as such.

You also want to avoid making your child into a messenger. Try not to use them to communicate with your soon-to-be ex-spouse if you are not on good speaking terms with them. If you must go through a mediator to communicate, use the services of a trusted law professional rather than your child.

It is important to work through your emotions along with your children’s throughout the course of your divorce. But make sure that you attend to your emotional needs separately from those of your children.