Parenting during divorce poses unique and difficult challenges for even the most well intentioned mothers and fathers. Many parents find themselves preoccupied if not overwhelmed by the divorce and all the emotions and uncertainties that accompany it. As a result, these parents become less able to attend to the needs of their children who need them more than ever during this turbulent time.
As a conscientious divorcing parent, you can serve the interests of your children by avoiding the following mistakes commonly made during divorce. But even if you do have a bad moment (it’s okay, nearly everyone does), use the experience to strengthen your resolve to not let it happen again.
- Don’t complain to your children about their other parent.
- Don’t use the children to convey messages to their other parent.
- Don’t ask the children (directly or indirectly) to choose with which parent they prefer to live or spend time.
- Don’t try to “insulate” the children entirely from the divorce, because it won’t work
- Depriving children of basic information will only increase their anxiety
- Don’t arbitrarily make rules that are inconsistent with their other parent’s reasonable rules.
- Don’t give the children false hope that you and your STBX might reconcile
- Don’t treat children as confidants or therapists. Children (and not only the younger ones) need to be reassured that normalcy will return to their lives and that they can feel safe and loved. Maintain the boundaries that will allow you to continue to fulfill those needs.