10 Tips For Successful Divorced Parenting
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
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
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
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
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
parenting please visit Parenting4Dummies.com
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