ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) – Divorce is never an easy process. It can get ugly.
But telling your kids can be even more heart-breaking.
“Children that have parents who go through divorce, don't get to decide that their parents are going to get divorced but their lives are the ones most negatively impacted by what happens,” said local author, Sarah Armstrong.
Armstrong is helping parents navigate this process in her book, “The Mom's Guide to a Good Divorce - What to Think Through When Children are Involved."
Armstrong and her husband divorced when their daughter, Grace, was seven.
“There's not enough conversation in society about how to have a good divorce,” she told CBS46.
Armstrong said important for parents to set the tone at the beginning on how they plan to approach their divorce.
“I talked to my ex-husband at the time, or soon to be ex-husband, and said let's try to do this where Grace is the focus,” said Armstrong. “One of the things that we really made a conscious effort of is try to figure out how to not make it feel like she was the one who had to be responsible for living in these two worlds, these two homes.”
Now, 10 years after publishing her book, Armstrong recently re-released it with new bite-sized nuggets of advice.
“When you're going through a divorce so much is coming at you that I wanted to just say if you want to look at one topic, and read that and take that in, and reflect on it,” she said.
She titled the book after a comment made by Grace during a trip to a grocery store. Grace was looking at a magazine cover of a celebrity breakup.
“She said a good divorce is when the mommy and daddy are nice to each other like you and daddy, and a bad divorce is when they yell at each other,” she said.
The revised edition discusses dozens of topic from how to handle a year of post-divorce firsts.
“Whether it's a first birthday of your children, or whether it's your wedding anniversary you used to celebrate, and that's a tough day,” Armstrong said.
To emphasizing self-care.
“I talk about recovering from the divorce hangover while still driving carpool,” she said.
The most challenging for parents is working hard to put emotions aside, but Armstrong said it's critical to avoid having a lasting impact on your children.
“There's something I talk about called developing the compartmentalization muscle,” she said. “You're children are watching whether you are focused on what happened in the past and going to live that every day or whether you're focused on looking ahead and thinking about what does life have for us on this new life we have together.