The 10 Commandments of Divorced Parenting
- Don’t share any anger or grief with your child
- Never badmouth, demean, denigrate, or devalue your ex in front of your child. EVER.
- Communicate directly with your ex (your child is not a messenger!)
- Respect your ex’s visitation time (don’t bombard your child with calls, texts, etc.)
- Say positive things about your ex in front of your child (“I see you have your Mom’s good organization skills”)
- Never discuss pending family court matters with or in front of your child
- Enroll your child in doing kind gestures (a small gift, Father’s Day card, postcard, etc.) for your ex
- Encourage your child to communicate– telephone, email, texting, etc.– with your ex while apart
- Get your child excited about seeing your ex as visitation approaches (kids follow their parents’ emotional lead)
- Include your ex in important decisions
Divorce does not have to damage children. But it always does when divorced parents argue, bicker, play emotional games, try to make the child take sides, and even brainwash them that Mommy or Daddy is not worthy of their love. Parents need to elevate their behaviors by refusing to engage in any emotional or tactical behaviors that harm their child.
Bottom line: Show the child through words and actions that the other parent matters in their life. That’s one of the greatest gifts you can ever give them.