Talk To Your Children
It is extremely frustrating for me to hear that either mother or father has used the children to get back at the other by using their children as pawns. The worst thing you can do is talk negatively to your children about the other parent. Remember, the children have no control over the situation and are likely hurting and confused over the change just as much if not more than you. Therefore, to address everyone’s stress talk to your children about the divorce together. Let them know it is alright to be angry with you and the other parent and inform them about how this change is going to affect their lives. If you can show the children that getting divorced does not have to mean losing the love you and your soon to be ex-spouse has for them, it will be a much easier transition for everyone.
There is mandatory class that will greatly benefit you while going through divorce. Additionally, courses/therapy is offered through licensed therapists for the children which is a good place for them to be able to vent and understand they are not alone. In both of these classes they will go over good coping mechanisms for you and your children. Other sources of education can include therapy, group sessions, books, and friends or family who have also been through a divorce with children.
Don’t Let the Past Interfere
Often parents will fight in the divorce about things that took place years ago or validate reasons why the other should not have custody with the children because of certain behaviors that existed during the marriage. While you may not agree with how your spouse acted during the marriage, if their behavior does not cause danger to the child’s health and wellness, a relationship between your child and the other parent must be facilitated. Understandably, you may not agree with your spouse’s choice of sleeping in too much, or watching too much television, playing too many video games, or other poor choices but continuing to fight over will bring frustration for you and your children. It will be better for the children’s self-esteem if you let these types of annoyances go with the divorce and just pay attention to the health and wellbeing of the children.
Set the Example
It is easy for your children to emulate your attitude towards the other parent. Children are very perceptive and can recognize if you are angry or frustrated about a certain trait or choice of the other parent. If you find yourself nagging about your ex or talking about him or her negatively, your children will pick up on it and develop the same attitudes. Likewise, if you are positive about your ex in front of the children after the divorce and do everything you can to promote a good relationship, the children will see you working together and emulate the same attitude. By treating your ex with respect, your kids will be able to maintain more stable relationships and will be better equipped to overcome the negative aspects of divorce.
Do’s and Dont’s
Do focus on your child’s needs.
Don’t focus on your needs.
Do think of custody as a separate issue relating only to what is best for your child.
Don’t discuss child support or property when trying to resolve your parenting plan.
Do acknowledge your child’s special needs according to her age, temperament, and development.
Don’t assume there is a standard plan that fits the needs of all children.
Do acknowledge the other parent’s strengths and bring up only valid concerns about the other parent’s ability to care for your child.
Don’t bad-mouth the other parent.
Do acknowledge that your child needs time with both of you, in a safe environment, developed by a parenting plan.
Don’t punish the other parent by withholding your children.