Parenting after divorce/separation can be a challenge. That is why it is so important to minimize the long-term emotional impact on children while trying to maintain a friendly relationship with your ex. Coparenting styles and arrangements can differ widely from one family to the next. However, most professionals agree that coParenting will succeed only if some basic agreements are made and significant mistakes are avoided. Here are some guidelines to follow:
Don’t deny your child personal time with your ex.
We know that divorce and separation is hard on children, to make it easier on them, allow him/her as much time as possible with both you and your ex. Your child will thank you, have fewer behavioral problems, and grow up happier and emotionally healthier.
Don’t argue or have tantrums around your child.
Conflict between parents can be damaging to your child. In order to be a positive role model for your child, it’s important to show mature behavior. If you have issues, gripes or reason for angry words with your coParent, plan a private time alone, far from your child’s eyes and ears. Otherwise, the negative consequences can be significant and long-lasting.
Don’t make your child your confidant – or friend!
It’s difficult enough for adults to unravel the complex emotions surrounding a divorce/separation. Think of how unfair it is to expect your child to share those emotional burdens with you. When you confide in or try to influence your child’s beliefs about their other parent, you rob them of the love and trust they should be feeling. If you must rant and vent about your ex, do it with a close friend who will listen and provide you with an objective opinion. Remember that bad advice is easy to come by, while good advice is hard to find. Better yet, find a professional who has your child’s best interest in mind.
Don’t make your child the messenger.
When you have coParenting struggles to talk about, discuss them directly, not through your children. Not only do children frequently misinterpret what they are told, on occasion they will intentionally change the messages because of their guilt, anxiety, fear, resentment and other related feelings in order to protect one or both parents.