Parenting Tips for Divorce and Beyond

A divorce will have a direct impact on your children’s emotional health and well-being, even after the decree has been signed and you and your ex-spouse have moved on with your lives.

So how can you keep your kids from feeling as if they’re “caught in the middle” of your divorce, whether you have physical custody or your ex-spouse does?

Keeping Divorce and Kids Separate

Experts suggest that you should always keep your children out of the middle of your divorce, but here are practical, real-life tips you can put to use right away.

Do not use your children to deliver messages to your ex.

If you pay child support, do not give your child support check to one of your children to deliver to the other parent.

Do not discuss how much support you are paying or receiving with your children.

Do not grill the children for information about what is going on in the other parent’s home. Your children may want to talk about their lives at the other parent’s home. If they initiate a conversation about the other parent, it is best to listen thoughtfully. If they bring up an issue they are having at the other home, suggest they discuss the issue directly with the other parent.

Do not show the children copies of divorce paperwork or discuss the case with them, even if the case is over.

Do not do make comments to the children that suggest they are not safe at the other parent’s home. If there has been domestic violence in the family, you should disclose this to your attorney at the beginning of your case.

Do not attempt to influence the children’s preferences by offering them incentives, such as cell phones or tablets, if they come to live at your house. Don’t offer bribes.

Do not disparage the other parent to your children. Disparagement can be overt or subtle. For example, disparagement can take the form of negative body language or facial expressions while you are talking on the phone to the other parent, even if the content of your conversation is neutral.  

If you follow these suggestions, you will be making an important contribution to your children’s long-term emotional health and self-esteem.

Kids who have strong and loving relationships with both parents are able to cope best. Every parent has the responsibility to encourage positive feelings about the other parent, and you always need to put your children’s emotional development first.

Posted in: Divorce