The behavior of parents who are separated or divorced has a great influence on the emotional adjustment of children. The following guidelines are helpful so that your family can work together and come out stronger.
- How you feel about your ex is less important than how you act toward him/her. Putting aside your negative feelings is definitely in the best interest of your child. Work on relating to each other in a businesslike fashion – with respect for each other.
- Speak to your ex in a respectful manner, as if he or she were a colleague or coworker. This includes not bringing up the past, not interrupting each other and using a kind tone. If a conversation goes in a direction where one of the parties is not being respectful, the other will let him or her know that they need to take a break and have the conversation at a later time.
- Don’t react to your ex’s provocative remarks. Ignore any name calling, negative texts or other criticisms. You don’t have to respond at all.
- Do not criticize your ex in front of the children. The children love both parents and are hurt when one speaks negatively about the other.
- Do not force or encourage your children to take sides. Doing so often hurts the children by creating frustration and guilt. They will resent the attempt and it may cause them to resent you.
- Respect your need for privacy and your ex's too. The only information that needs to be shared between co-parents is that pertaining to the children.
- Each parent's time with the child is sacred. Don't make or change plans for the time your child is scheduled to spend with your ex. Honor the pre-arranged schedule.
- Each parent has the right to develop his/her own parenting styles. As long as no harm is being done, let your ex-spouse relate to your child as he/she sees fit.
- Acknowledge what your ex-spouse has to offer your child. Remember the qualities that first attracted you. Those qualities still exist and are available to your child.
About the author:
Jill Barnett Kaufman, LCSW is an experienced therapist, a Certified Parent Educator and a Certified Divorce Mediator. She provides divorce counseling and coaching, co-parenting counseling, family counseling, couples counseling, reunification counseling and divorce mediation. For more information, click on the following link: