Adults going through divorce are often preoccupied with their own agendas and rights. When you have children, you must think beyond yourself and prioritize your children. They have rights that you need to remember and respect when you are going through a divorce.

There are many things that you have to consider when kids are put in this position. They didn’t ask for the divorce, but they have to deal with the impacts. Here are some of the rights you need to respect while you are divorcing:

Right to see extended family members

Just because you are divorcing doesn’t mean that your children should be forbidden from seeing extended family members. Cousins, grandparents, aunts, uncles and other family members are still important for children so find ways to allow them to keep these relationships strong. You should also encourage the relationship between your child and your ex. A child custody agreement that expresses the need for the child to have both parents in his or her life is usually a good way to do this.

Right to enjoy being a child

Your children shouldn’t be treated like they are tiny adults. This means that you can’t bring your children into adult matters. They shouldn’t be asked to relay messages from one parent to the other. They must not be expected to listen to either adult speak about the divorce matters or belittle each other. Let them be children. Having time with friends and being able to get away from the divorce can help your children to thrive.

Right to feel loved and secure

The major changes that come with a divorce throw the child’s life into a tailspin. You need to make sure that you let the kids know that you still love them and that they aren’t the cause of the divorce. Helping them to feel secure means setting clear boundaries and expectations. You need to set rules and work with children to ensure the expectations are honored. It might be tempting to coddle and let them get away with things in the early days of the divorce, but be careful as this could set up an unrealistic precedent.

Right to express their feelings

People sometimes expect that children should be seen and not heard. While this has been has been fairly common through the generations, you need to look past this way of thinking. Your children need to know that they can speak to you about how they feel. Some children have a difficult time expressing their feelings, so you may have to help them figure out ways that they can tell you what’s going on.