Four Things That Divorcing Parents Should Know
Families face all sorts of challenges every day, but one of the most emotionally challenging events that can occur is if parents decide to end their relationship. Divorcing parents have lots of big decisions to make during this painful time, and a good number of these decisions have a lot to do with their children. Even while parents are doing their best to make cautious decisions that are always in the best interests of their children, it sometimes happens that parents run into pitfalls that could have been avoided. Parental conflicts that persist throughout and after a divorce can make it difficult for co-parents to work together. If co-parents are able to keep in mind what it is their children want for their family after divorce, they'll be better able to avoid the pitfalls that make co-parenting more difficult than it could be.
To help co-parents avoid pitfalls, here are four things that divorcing parents should know.
Children recognize badmouthing between parents. For children, having to listen to one parent say mean-spirited things about the other parent is inappropriate and hurts their feelings. Also, kids might be made to feel like they must choose sides between their parents. It's not fair for divorcing parents to make children choose between aligning with one parent or the other. Divorcing parents should know that their children want to have a relationship with both of their parents, and unless doing so directly questions their safety, parents should encourage their children to have these relationships.
Children want both of their parents to be at their most important events. Many divorcing parents will not likely be together with their children each holiday or birthday. However, there are so many important life events that children want both of their parents to attend such as their school graduations, sports games, music recitals, future weddings, and much more. If both parents cannot make it to these kids of events due to conflict, it can be very upsetting for their children. While it may be difficult to face one another, divorcing parents should work towards getting to a place where they can both attend these kinds of events without issue. It's important for parents to remember how much it means to their children to have both of their parents there for them in these special moments. Divorcing parents should do their best to both attend important life events without making it hard on the children. Keep in mind that legal rulings having to do with contact between parents should be taken into account. In this situation, refer to your order or speak to your attorney if there are any concerns about attending the same events as your co-parent.
Children don't want to be your messengers. In the past, one common way for divorcing parents to get information between their two homes was to send it in a notebook with their child during parenting time exchanges. Today, web and mobile tools have created new, more convenient avenues for co-parents to share information. Even so, it is important that divorcing parents recognize the negative impact that making a child your messenger has on their emotional well-being. Divorcing parents should always use a means of communication to send messages or share information in such a way that doesn't involve the children.
Children want to talk about both parents. Divorcing parents should understand that children don't want to feel like they have to hide things from either of their parents. They should be made to feel like they can tell both of their parents anything, even if it means talking about one parent to the other. In these moments, each parent should listen attentively and not give negative feedback to their child for talking about the other parent. Again, the safety of children should always come first, so if your child is saying something about their other parent that is truly concerning, it should be brought to the attention of a family law practitioner or another legal professional. However, if only nice things are being said, there's no reason to make a child feel any different about talking about the other parent.
Divorcing parents have a lot of their plates as they navigate their divorce. Through everything, it is necessary to keep the children and their needs in the forefront of every decision that needs to be made. When divorcing parents can work together to uphold their children's best interests, their whole family moves towards success.
The OurFamilyWizard® web and mobile tools make it easy for divorcing parents to share information and communicate without involving the children as messengers. Click here to get started today!