Parenting Help For Divorcing Parents

  10 Tips For Successful Divorced Parenting

By Donald Saunders

Many divorced parents believe that divorce itself will permanently damage their children. Research shows however that, while divorce is often a traumatic experience for children, it is the manner in which the couple parent their children following the divorce that determines the true and lasting effects on their children.

Here are ten tips to ensure successful divorced parenting:

Tip 1. Provide as much stability for children as possible. Wherever possible try to minimize the disruption to your childrens' routine. For example, if possible, they should continue to live in the same home and attend the same school. They should also enjoy the same standard of living and this often means that child support payments play an important part in providing stability.

Tip 2. Keep your problems away from the children. Whatever your relationship with your spouse it is extremely important that you do not argue or fight in front of the children. If you find that there is continuing conflict, or new conflict over such things as visitation or financial support for the children, then sort this out between yourselves at a time when the children are not present.

Tip 3. Don't involve your children in your battles. Whatever problems you may have with your former spouse do not bring your children into these problems by asking them to take sides. It may seem comforting in the short term to have an ally but, in the long term, you will almost certainly not only damage the relationship between the children and your spouse, but will also damage your own relationship with the children.

Tip 4. Don't use your children as 'agents' or 'spies'. Although you may be more than a little curious to know what your former spouse is up to, don't use your children to answer the question. Avoid questions aimed at finding out such things as who your former spouse is dating.

Tip 5. Don't use your children as 'messengers'. While it's fine to ask your children to pass on normal 'everyday' messages don't ask them to pass messages which could be seen as drawing them into an argument or dispute. It's fine to say, 'can you tell you father that I can take you to football practice on Thursday if it's difficult for him to get out of his meeting at work' but avoid passing messages such as 'tell you father that he's late again with his child support payment'.

Tip 6. Don't do anything to damage the relationship between your former spouse and your children. You may well harbor a great deal of anger following your divorce but do not express this in front of your children by putting your former spouse down. Remember that it is important for your children to have a loving relationship with both parents.

Tip 7. Don't use your children as a support mechanism. Divorce can be a traumatic experience for parents as well as children and having lost the support of your marital partner it's all too easy to turn to your children to fill the gap. Your children have enough to handle without taking on your problems and, if necessary, you should turn elsewhere in the family, or outside of the family, if you need support.

Tip 8. Try to keep disruption to a minimum by establishing a routine for parental visitation. Your children should have frequent and reasonable visits with their absent parent and the schedule of visits should be maintained as far as is possible. The children will not benefit from long periods between visits or from frequent cancellations of their regular visits.

Tip 9. Adopt a common policy towards discipline. To avoid the children feeling unfairly treated or being tempted to play one parent off against the other, you should agree a common policy as far as what is and is not acceptable behavior as well as a common policy with regard to discipline.

Tip 10. Don't be afraid to ask for help. Parenting is not always easy and it can be especially difficult for divorced parents. If you do run into problems which you find yourself unable to resolve don't be afraid to seek professional advice. It's far better to admit that you need help than to simply stumble on in the hope of resolving the issue until irreparable damage has been done and you are forced to seek help.

Follow these simple rules and you will be well on your way to coping with the trials and tribulations of divorced parenting.

For further information on divorced parenting and indeed for advice on all aspects of child parenting please visit Parenting4Dummies.com

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