It is sad but true that every day marriages dissolve into divorce. Many do not include children but a vast number do. It is important to remember that the children are not pawns played in a game that ultimately has no winners. Here are some things to take to heart for the sake of the children involved. As difficult as it may be, you must remember that at one time you loved your ex or soon to be ex spouse enough to have children with them. Here are some tips to make life easier for your children after a divorce.
1. Do not speak ill of the other parent. No child should hear horror stories from one parent about the other parent. They love you both equally and it can cause them to feel they have to choose between both beloved parents. This can have devastating effects and ultimately may resentment toward you, as they get older.
2. Continue to co-parent by allowing yourself to have open communication with your ex. You both have your children’s best interests at heart you should continue to share the experience. For example, attend back to school night together. Make sure the other parent is aware of special awards, events, etc.
3. Plan your child’s birthday party together. Choose a neutral place to have it and then plan and execute it. The fact you are on neutral ground will minimize or eliminate any awkwardness felt and will solidify the fact to your child that even though you are no longer together, you both are still a team where they are involved.
4. Make sure you don’t forget your child’s other parent on important holidays like Christmas, birthdays or Mother’s/Father’s day. It is important to take your child to get a card or gift for these occasions as it reaffirms to your child that although you are no longer married to the other parent, you are respectful of the role they played in your life at one point.
5. Do not refer to your ex spouse as “my ex”. It demeans the important role he or she played in having your children. Remember, without him or her, you would not have them. Refer to your ex spouse as “my son’s mother” or “my children’s father”. The term “ex” is just impersonal and callous.
These simple suggestions can make a tumultuous time like divorce a little less difficult on the children involved. They are simple suggestions but show your children that even though you and your ex spouse are no longer together that you are still a team when it comes to dealing with them, a fact that can make all the difference to a child who is in the middle of the mess.
By Guest Writer Vivienne Durand