When parents divorce, regardless of the circumstance or age of the child, it has a significant impact. Looking at it through the eyes of your child and setting aside any feelings of anger or hostility towards your ex is challenging but essential. No matter how hurt, angry or disgusted you are with your ex, your feelings should have no bearing on your parenting.
It is in your child's best interest that you deal with those negative feelings so that you can maintain an amicable relationship with your ex. Dealing with your ex can be done amicably if both parties truly choose to act in the best interest of their children.
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One of the most damaging things you can do to your child is to use them as an object of your anger. Here is a list of dos and don'ts that can assist you in parenting in a way that best protects your children while you are going through your divorce. 9 Love Lessons I Learned From My Divorce
1. DO reassure your child that it is not her fault that you and your spouse split up.
2. DO talk to your child on a developmentally appropriate level. Your child should not be given more information then is appropriate for her to understand and process. 5 Ways Divorce Benefits Your Kids
3. DO encourage your child to share any feelings or concerns she has about your ex. But, be sure not to take anyone's side.
Even if you think what your child is telling you is horrible, keep in mind that it is their interpretation of the situation and it may not be completely accurate information. Your child may also be checking out whether you will defend her, take her side and join in being angry at the other parent. This sets the tone for how they will interact with you and the belief system they will form and hold on to.
4. DO make all decisions about your child without getting wrapped up in the feelings you have toward your ex. Consider what is truly in the best interest of your child.
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5. DO try to provide as much consistency and structure as possible during their time with you. This helps children feel safe and secure.
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