Tips for coParents of Preschoolers
With over 13 years experience of owning a preschool, Debbie Ficarra understands children and what it takes to keep them happy–both in and out of the home–especially when mom and dad are coParenting. From her experience, Ficarra recommends tips for coParents of preschoolers.
Staying Positive for Your Preschooler
A common issue is the importance of the coParent to stay positive or at least neutral while discussing the other coParent to the child. It is important for the preschool child to not witness a parent take sides. “The children see the issues and what goes on at home,” said Ficarra, owner of La Canada Preschool in California. “Sometimes the child will come to school and say, ‘Mommy is mad at daddy,’ or ‘Daddy doesn’t love mommy.’ That is way too much information for them to process right now.”
“We tend to see a lot of anxiety in children of divorced or separated families as far as attachment – children unsure of which house they are going to be at, missing mommy or daddy and also communication,” she added.
Communicating with Your Preschooler
An issue for the preschooler is how to communicate with the children about the other coParent, as far as your feelings and what goes on with the other parent. Neutral and positive is always best. But as a divorced or separated parent, you do not always have those neutral and positive feelings.
Ficarra believes it is in the best interest of the children to stay as neutral and positive as possible. Even though it is hard to do, she advises parents to create better boundaries around what they share with their children. Speak about the ex to a friend or therapist and let out frustrations with a physical activity, like the gym or yoga. Try not to let your anger towards the other coParent appear towards the children.
“Once you do not speak positive and neutral to your children about your ex, if offsets them,” Ficarra said in closing. “And that’s not fair. They love you both, more than you know.”