Tips for Divorcing Or Divorced Parents Edward R. Weinstein, Esq.
<ul><li>Divorce is always traumatic for children. </li></ul><ul><li>Your job as a parent is to help your child feel as safe and secure as possible. </li></ul><ul><li>2. Children always feel responsible for the divorce. They believe they have done something wrong to cause it, and they feel guilt. Always reassure your child that the divorce has nothing to do with anything they might have done, and that both of you will always love her/him forever. </li></ul>
<ul><li>3. Whichever parent moves out of the family home should make sure there is a special place in her/her new home for the child. This can’t always be a room of the child’s own, but should at least be a nook for a bed, a dresser drawer or two and a part of a closet for his clothes and toys. </li></ul><ul><li>4. Make sure your child knows your schedule, the visitation schedule and how to get in touch with each parent. </li></ul>
<ul><li>5. Often the non-custodial parent tries to compensate for not having as much time with the child by planning major activities for each time you have the child. In fact, what your child needs most is your time, talk, play games, read books, cuddle, etc. instead of trying to fill each moment with an outside activity. </li></ul><ul><li>6. Never, ever, ever, say uncomplimentary things about your ex. </li></ul>
<ul><li>7. Never, ever, ever, say “you are just like your father/moth.” Your child knows she/he is part you, part your ex. If you dislike your ex, you dislike part of your child. </li></ul><ul><li>8. Never ask your child to carry message to your ex. Deal directly with the other parent. You are still parenting together. </li></ul>
<ul><li>9. Children tend to act out more with the parent with whom they live most of the time, because it is “safer” to them. Always support your ex’s attempts to discipline, maintain rules and limits, and take seriously what the other parent describes as behavior problems. </li></ul><ul><li>10. Try to have the same rules in each home. Never undermine the rules of the other parent. </li></ul>
<ul><li>11. If you are or intend to begin dating, do not rush into bringing a new person into your child’s life. Be sure of your new relationship and its “staying power” before introducing the other into your child’s life. Once you do, respect your child’s right to not like the new “other.” Children always hope for their parents to get back together, and this new person is an impediment to that wish. Be sensitive and go slowly, and don’t try to force it. </li></ul>
<ul><li>12. Don’t tell your child how much you miss them when they are with the other parent. This instills guilt, and pulls the child emotionally in two. Deal with your own feelings as an adult, and seek help if you need it. Your child will deal with his/her new schedule much more easily if they aren’t worrying about you. </li></ul><ul><li>13. Last but most important: Always try to think about being in your child’s shoes, and do what would make life easiest for them, not for you. </li></ul>