28 Dos & Don'ts Of Divorced Parenting

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28 Dos & Don'ts Of Divorced Parenting [EXPERT]
How to be the best parent possible during one of the most challenging experiences ever.

13. DO try to co-parent with your ex. Work to maintain an amicable relationship. It is one of the best gifts you can give your child.

14. DO stick to the visitation agreement you have made and pick up and drop off your child when you have agreed to.

15. DO be reasonable and flexible with visitation. If your child has a birthday party they want to attend during the weekend you have them, make the arrangements for them to attend.

16. DON'T ever say or imply anything, through your words or actions, that is negative towards your ex in the presence of your children.

17. DON'T talk about your ex with your child. If they initiate a conversation, remain neutral, no matter how hard it is. If your ex is disappointing your child by not showing up for visits or following through with his promises, tell your child that you know how disappointed they feel and ask if there is anything you can do. Encourage them to talk to your ex. Help! I Can't Get Over My Divorce

18. DON'T use your child as a pawn to manipulate or try to hurt your ex. This is very damaging to your child and will have major long-term negative effects on your child and on the relationship you and your child have.

19. DON'T loosen the rules or boundaries. This is commonly done out of parental guilt and it creates more worry and angst for your child. Consistency, limits and boundaries are what helps your child feel safe and secure.

20. DON'T try to buy your child's affection through gifts or money. Children see through this and it is sending them the wrong message. They would much rather have your time and attention. Don't try to be the "favored" parent. Your children love you, not the things you give them.

21. DON'T allow your friends or family members to ever say anything bad about your ex to your children. This creates an emotional dilemma for children and will put pressure on them to feel as though they have to "pick" which parent to love.

22. DON'T exacerbate the loyalty bind your child is already experiencing. Allow your child to love you and your ex without feeling guilt or consequence for doing so. Children going through divorce naturally experience a loyalty bind. Give them permission to love both of you without any negative reactions.

23. DON'T share information with your child that is not appropriate or necessary, particularly young children. This places too much emotional responsibility on them and can result in acting out behaviors, stress and anxiety.

24. DON'T allow your child to see or overhear arguments between you and your ex, particularly if it is related to them. Children internalize this to believe it is their fault that their parents are not getting along. They already believe it is their fault that you are getting divorced. Children need to be continually reassured this is not the case. They hear you, even when you think they don't.

Article contributed by
Advanced Member

Leslie Petruk

Marriage and Family Therapist

Leslie Petruk is a Child & Family Therapist

Location: Charlotte, NC
Credentials: BCC, LPC, MA, NCC
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