You are getting a divorce because you do NOT like your spouse. But you don’t want your kids to be caught in the middle of anything nasty. It’s just not good for them.
“He did WHAT?” your friend commiserates with you. “I never liked her.” Your friend looks you in the eye. Your child overhears. This is damaging to your child.
No matter how you feel about your ex, your child will always love both parents. Don’t make them choose sides because of your need to feel “right.”
So, how do you get past the anger, the hurt, the embarrassment, everything?
#1 Co-Parenting Tip from an Expert Divorce Attorney
One of the most important things you can do is to SET GROUND RULES FOR COMMUNICATION with your ex.
These could include things like:
-No Yelling (end the conversation calmly before it gets to that point);
-No name calling;
-If you are unable to talk face to face, talk by phone (never through your child);
-If you are unable to talk by phone, communicate via email;
-All communication is child focused;
-All communication is based in the present (old grudges are for the therapists couch);
-Conduct yourself with respect for your ex (you don’t have to like them, just be respectful);
-Take a deep breath and stop your automatic response, STOP yourself from acting out;
Other Ways You Can be a Better Co-Parent
Set aside your own viewpoint and look through the eyes of the child. Remember….you love your child and want what is best for them.
Listen to your ex about what they think is best for your child. Even if you don’t agree, try to understand. If you need time to think about it take time to think, decisions do not have to be made immediately.
Don’t let your child overhear you talking poorly or making unfavorable gestures/expressions towards your ex.
Listen to your child about their feelings for the ex, however realize that children will play parents against each other as a way of getting what they want. Be very careful on how you to react to statements about your ex made by your child. You need to separate the “Wheat from the chaff.” This takes some degree of sophistication and practice.
Allow your children to express happiness and excitement about their time with the other parent. They do not want you to feel bad or lonely when they are away.
Do NOT allow your children to relay messages back and forth.
Have age appropriate conversations with your children about their feelings. Don’t let them become your sounding board or therapist. You are their parent, if you need help dealing with Divorce issues seek professional help, a trusted friend, or clergy.
When, you or your, ex re-marry help your child to make the transition to the new family by listening and encouraging them.
Let your child know that you will be okay.
Let your child know that you love them no matter what.
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