Parenting after divorce guidelines

The children of an acrimonious divorce are often the ones who suffer most. Protracted legal battles over assets, accusations of infidelity and bitterness cause immeasurable harm to children.

You both want the best for your children and parenting after divorce has the potential to be harmful to children or a positive learning experience. Below are a few practical guidelines to help you make your divorce less harmful to your children.

In high conflict relationships, be they while married, during divorce or after divorce the risks you are exposing your children to are feelings of fear, disillusionment, terrible insecurity and feeling vulnerable. Do you really want your children to feel these emotions?

Children in high conflict parental relationships often blame themselves for the conflict and will often try to resolve the arguments themselves with the parents individually or get in between the parents during an argument. Children are not equipped to deal with these emotionally conflicted situations and begin to feel helpless and not in control of their lives. One survival technique used by children in helpless situations is to align themselves with one parent. This is very destructive and damaging to children in that it begins to reinforce a view that disputes cannot be resolved and that people are either good or bad. One of the experiences and realizations of all children is that there is both good and bad in all of us and that these are traits of a balanced individual.

  • Discussion around your children should be held in private and out of earshot of your children. Discuss the issues directly with your ex.
  • Never ask your children to relay messages to your ex. This puts your children in an incredibly uncomfortable position which often results in them experiencing the reaction you do not want to experience. This is selfish, manipulative behaviour which is very harmful.
  • Never ask for information relating to your ex partners behaviour, whereabouts or friends.
  • Don’t expect your children to be secretive about their experiences with you and do not rise to the occasion if remarks about your ex are hurtful or disparaging. Deal with any issues directly with your ex.
  • Never discuss financial issues or maintenance issues with your children that pertain to your divorce. The two of you must make the financial decisions and if these effect your children directly, inform them of the changes with a unified front.
  • Your legal issues are between the two of you, your disagreements are between the two of you, keep it that way.

parenting after divorce can bring you closer to your children and afford you the opportunity to build strong bonds. Use the time you have together to get to know one another, you and your ex had more than likely been fighting for many months before your divorce and to a great extent neglected your relationships with your children.

Children are a gift, nurture them and above all love them and let them know that you love them.