CNN Relationships offers up 5 truths to embrace if you wish to diffuse divorce conflict and create a less stressful environment for your children.
Psychologist John Duffy writes (excerpt):
Your kids identify with you both. . . . Your kids identify with you both. If they hear from a loved and trusted parent that the other parent can be awful, kids will internalize this not just as a part of the offending parent, but of themselves. . . .
Talk to your kids about what will not change. . . . Highlight the fact that you both love your children unconditionally, and will continue to do so always. Remind them frequently that they are not the cause of the divorce, a concern many kids carry but few share with their parents. Assure them they are good and good enough, and that the driving force behind the divorce lies between the adults. . . .
Model the perfect breakup. . . . Over time kids tend to mirror the relationship patterns of their parents. The perfect breakup is not possible but increasingly I hear from kids their stories of divorced, sometimes estranged parents chatting with one another in a friendly manner during pick-ups and drop-offs. They can sit together at games, plays, concerts and celebrations in relative peace. . . .
How your child sees divorce. . . . Your kids should never witness the harshest of your exchanges. The changes divorce bring already feel harsh to them. They don’t need to hear you say awful things about one another or arguments about money, new significant others, or them. . . . They need care and attention, unconditional regard and gentleness.
Talking it through will help. . . . I urge you to find a therapist your child is comfortable with, even if you feel he or she may not need it. . . .