Even if you are no longer husband and wife, if you have children you will always be together as parents. You may have not been successful at being married, but if you care about your children and being a good parent, you will do what needs to be done to ensure you are successful at being divorced.
Here are some tips for parents to help your children adjust to your divorce:
Focus on your child. You have probably heard it said that the love for your child should always be greater than the dislike you have for your ex. The well being of your child – or children – must now be the main focus of every interaction you have with your ex. Before making any decision, think first: how will this affect my child? Their needs must always come first.
See your ex as a parent. Just because your ex was not a good partner for you does not mean they are a bad parent. Your children have a right to know and love both parents, and if your anger is standing in the way, get help.
Speak well of each other, or not at all. Words can hurt, and when you say something bad about your ex to your children, it hurts them. And trying to make them “choose” one parent over another is one of the worst things you can do.
Protect your child from conflict. Never argue in front of your children. If you cannot behave well in front of them, then don’t be in any situation that throws you together. Remember, you are the adults – you can pretend to like each other, even if you don’t, for the few minutes you do see each other when dropping off or picking up your children.
Improve your listening skills. Most conversations with your ex will be a negotiation, so try to improve your listening and negotiating skills. Anger does not engender a good outcome.
Keep financial issues separate. If you are having disagreements about money, don’t drag your children into it. Parenting issues should be kept separate from financial issues.
Respect your family. Before you divorced, you were a family, and children need to feel a part of a family. Both parents should be encouraged to attend events or participate in school activities, and should be sure they both have access to important medical and educational information that concerns the children.
Try to be flexible. Probably the biggest area of potential conflict is around visitation. Try to be as flexible as possible with scheduling, and understanding if something comes up with your ex and they have to change plans at the last minute. Odds are that the same thing will happen to you at some time, so treat your ex as you would like to be treated in that circumstance.
Get help. Divorce is emotionally tough on everyone in the family, so getting help from a family therapist is something you should seriously consider, especially at the beginning of the divorce process. If children are having problems adjusting to the new family dynamic, help them through it with the assistance of a professional.
Protecting your interests and achieving results that support your needs is what you can expect from Murphy & Cistaro. Contact us today for your free consultation.