One issue that many parents run into during or after a divorce is that they become obsessed with trying to make their own children like them.

In some cases, they want the kids to like them more than their ex. In other cases, the children do not cope with the divorce well and they blame their parents, who then work twice as hard to win back their affection.

Experts warn that doing this is often a mistake. The issue is that you’re just trying to sugar-coat the problem. You’re trying to make them forget about it or act like it’s not there.

Instead, you want to focus on loving the children and figuring out real ways to help them. Don’t just take them on vacations and buy them gifts and let them skip school so that they’ll think you are the “fun” parent. That does not strengthen your relationship and it does not help with their adjustment and development.

It can be far better to talk to the kids about the way they feel. Do they think that they caused the divorce? Assure them that they didn’t. Do they think that their parents do not love them anymore? Show them that you do.

But remember that you are both their parents. It’s not a competition. You’re not there to buy their love. You’re there to raise them, and the two of you need to work together to do it. That is what is truly in their best interests.

As you work your way through this divorce, be sure you always look into the legal options you have to put the kids first and improve their lives.