Loving parents do not mean to hurt their children, nor do they intend to
damage them, but unfortunately parents in the trenches of a
divorce can be unaware of what they say and do, and how their actions impact their
children. Amid the intense emotions, chaos, and major life transitions,
parents can be temporarily so absorbed and distracted that they neglect
their children’s needs.
In order to reduce the negative ramifications of your divorce on your children,
it’s critical to focus on them and have a child-centered divorce.
Remember, children are innocent bystanders who can have to deal with the
consequences of their parents’ divorce for the rest of their lives.
Your connection will last a lifetime. Realize that while you’re getting a divorce, you’re not going
to completely break off from your spouse. You will see him or her at parent-teacher
conferences, soccer games, dance recitals, birthday parties, school concerts,
and much more for years to come. And it doesn’t end when
your child turns eighteen. One day, you might have grandkids, which will mean more extracurricular
activities, school and family events to attend together. Since you’re
going to know your soon-to-be ex forever, it’s best to start getting
along with him or her now.
Shield your kids from adult problems. As you’ve probably heard before – let kids be kids. During
your divorce, it’s so important to shield your children from your
adult problems. Your children don’t need to hear that your spouse
had a racy affair with a co-worker, or that their dad had a gambling addiction,
or that their mom charged up all the credit cards. While such things may
be true, they would only upset your children and lessen their opinions
of the other parent and no good comes out of that.
Don’t discuss your divorce on social media. If your children are over the age of 12, they’re probably on Facebook,
Instagram, Snapchat and other social media platforms. Chances are, they’re
friends with you on Facebook and Instagram (after all, you want to keep
an eye on their online activities). For the sake of your divorce and your
kids, avoid ranting about your divorce on Facebook or Twitter. Your 500
acquaintances don’t need to be privy to your divorce, nor do your
children. If you were to broadcast your negative emotions or complain
about your spouse on social media, it’s going to hurt your kids.
Protect your spouse’s image. We realize that your spouse may have a substance abuse problem. They may
have spent thousands on their boyfriend or girlfriend, and they may have
blown your entire savings on risky investments or a startup that flopped.
Regardless of what your spouse has done to ruin the marriage, for the
sake of your kids it’s important to protect your spouse’s
reputation. Word gets around fast and you don’t want your kids to hear rumors
that their mom ran to Cabo with her masseuse, or that their dad quit his
fancy job only to lose all the family’s money in a shady business dealing.
Avoid parental alienation. No matter how you feel about your spouse, you must avoid turning your kids
against him or her. In the absence of
domestic violence, you are still both their parents and your children have the right to
have both parents in their lives, playing an active role. There’s
nothing sadder than a loving father who’s pushed out of his children’s
lives, never to walk his daughter down the aisle, or a loving mother alienated
by her husband, never to meet her grandchildren. It’s not fair to
their other parent and it’s especially not fair to your children
to deprive them of two loving parents who care for their well-being.
Seek to have a good relationship with your spouse. Want to know the secret to having a positive divorce? Create a good relationship
with your spouse. By doing this, your divorce will be less stressful.
Your children will sense that things are more peaceful and the outcome
will be much brighter than if you were to despise your spouse. Even if
you wish you’d never see your spouse ever again, it’s important
to put a smile on your face and treat him or her with dignity and respect.
This won’t only make things easier, it will benefit your children
Give your children loads of love and attention. During and after the divorce, focus on your kids – give them loads
of attention. Reassure them that you love them and do lots of fun things
together, such as hiking, going to the beach, watching movies at home,
taking walks together, playing their favorite sport, and doing things
that they enjoy. Depending on their age, this could mean playing basketball,
knitting (for girls), visiting museums, volunteering, going to the park (small children), visiting the dog park with your furry friend, or playing a game of catch.
Be flexible with the other parent. Can you imagine if you had to work late because you had to entertain a
client or because you took an extra shift and your former spouse refused
to watch the kids, even though they didn’t have any plans? Their
refusal to budge would definitely cause resentment on your part and rightfully
so! For this reason, it’s important that you’re both flexible
with each other, especially when it relates to work, emergencies and sudden
schedule changes. The idea is to be reasonable with each other and of
course not to abuse the other parent’s flexibility.
Consider staying in the same school zone. If you can arrange to live a few miles away from your former spouse, this
will make your life much easier. We recommend staying in the school zone
if possible, or at the least living very close.
Successful Co-Parenting After Divorce
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