Divorce often disrupts the child's psychosocial and cognitive development. Divorce is loss, regardless of the "health" of the family. The family unit is no longer intact. Mom and Dad are no longer together.

Children must be considered when marriages are in the process of ending or have ended in divorce. Parents who make disparaging comments and express disappointments, anger, and rage about the other parent in front of or within earshot of their children only serve to hurt, sadden, frighten, and confuse them.

Parents who set out to make it difficult for their ex only end up hurting their kids or their relationships with them. And that "baggage" can accompany their children for years to come, possibly into future relationships. I know. I'm a child of divorce.

A child will struggle with how they will fit into this new arrangement. The child will, as I did, have many questions and uncertainties about their parents' divorce and its impact on the family and on familial relationships.

Some children will try to "fix" the relationship. Others will try to take on part of the blame for their parents' failed marriage, as in, "Mom and Dad would still be together if I'd only done my chores without Mom having to nag me all of the time."

Children need assurances. Parents can provide assurances for their children by being child-centered. Having a child-centered divorce requires that parents commit to the mindset of co-operation, working accommodatingly for the sake of their children irrespective of how they feel about one another.

Children need to know it's all right to be loyal to each parent. Parents, who cooperate, and try to be friends, foster friendship and good feelings. Children can sense this. Friendship between parents provides children with emotional security.

Child-centered divorce means that both parents work cooperatively to be consistent between homes — house rules, schedules, discipline, homework, and diet. Children benefit from structure and consistency. They know what to expect and what is expected from them. They are able to move between homes seamlessly. Parents who co-parent amicably are able to provide their children with happiness and stability.

An added benefit of co-parenting is that children notice how their parents work things out together. Parents are respectful in their requests, listen, and show restraint (don't show your "negative" feelings). This modeling provides children with a foundation for effective communication and problem solving.

The goal of co-parenting, of a child-centered divorce is to heal. Although the marriage is over, family continues. When parents work as a team everyone wins.