Divorce is never easy. I’m a product of a divorced home, raised by a single mother, and barely saw my father during my formative years. I saw and heard things no child should ever be subjected to. Divorce is very emotional, and sometimes both parents can have overwhelming emotions and act out against each other forgetting how the children will be affected. Although it wasn’t easy in the beginning, I knew my mother did the best that she could. As an adult now, I understand that my father stayed away because my mother was relentless in her vengeance towards him.
Then it was my turn. I’ve been divorced twice, and although it was difficult, my children were my top priority and my long island divorce lawyer was incredibly helpful in guiding me down the proper path. I vowed that I would not subject my children to anything that would be harmful to their self-esteem or make them feel like they should pick sides. Here are four tips on what divorcing parents should pay attention to when going through one of the hardest challenges in life:
Don’t force your child to side with you.
Although you may want your child to understand your side of the story, you should not give details on why the marriage is breaking up and how your spouse hurt you. Children need to see their parents as stable. Both parties should be invested in making sure the children feel secure and above all, that the divorce is not their fault.
Keep arguments behind closed doors
Don’t’ argue in front of the children or where they can still hear you. This probably should have been the number one tip, but this is something that many parents fail to put the brakes on. We know we shouldn’t do it, but emotions take over again, and words just fly out. Many children learn about relationships from watching their parents. If you constantly argue or yell at each other in front of them, they will grow up to think that this is just the relationship norm. Arguing in front of your children could lead them to unhealthy and strained relationships of their own as they grow into adulthood.
Be on the same page
When it comes to co-parenting, you should be on the same page in how the children should be raised. If one parent isn’t comfortable with the other parent’s decision making or rules, then talk calmly about it and come to an agreement. For example, the children should have the same bedtimes and homework rules at both parent’s residences. If you’re having trouble working these issues out, consult with your divorce lawyer to work out an agreement for both parties.
Don’t talk negative about your ex
Both of my own parents were good for this one. Your personal opinion of your spouse is not your child’s business. Many courts frown upon this when it comes to custody issues, so be careful what you say in front of your child about the other parent. It could be hurtful for your child to hear. Make sure you keep the same rules with your family members. Tell them it’s not ok to discuss your divorce or your relationship issues that you are encountering with your ex-spouse. Both parents shouldn’t speak negatively about the others family members either.
At the end of the day, all parents want their children to grow up with a healthy view on relationships. It’s hard to keep all of the above in mind in the heat of the moment, but you will see how well-adjusted and happy your children will be throughout their childhood if you just follow some simple parenting rules.