Tag Archives: How Do I Tell the Kids about the Divorce? A Create-a=Storybook Guide to Preparing Your Children with Love

Make Smart Choices for Post-Divorce Co-Parenting Success (Rosalind Sedacca, CCT)

BTAboutThemDivorce doesn’t end your co-parenting relationship with your former spouse. It only changes some of the form. It is still essential to create a working relationship focused on the optimum care and concern for your children. Every co-parenting relationship will be unique, affected by your post-divorce family dynamics. However, there are guidelines that will enhance the results for children in any family. Here are some crucial points to keep in mind to maximize your co-parenting success.

RSedaccaPhotoRespect your co-parent’s boundaries
Chances are your former spouse has a different parenting style than you, with some conflicting rules. Rather than stress yourself about these differences, learn to accept that life is never consistent and it may actually be beneficial for your kids to experience other ways of doing things. Step back from micro-managing your co-parent’s life. If the kids aren’t in harm’s way, let go and focus on only the most serious issues before you take a stand.

Create routine co-parent check-ins
The more co-parents communicate with one another about the children, the less likely for small issues to grow into major problems. Select days/times for phone, email or in-person visits. Discuss in advance visitation transfer agreements. List who’s responsible for what – each day, week or month. Food, homework, curfews, health issues, allowances, school transportation, sport activities, play dates, holiday plans and more should be clearly agreed upon, when possible – or scheduled for further discussion. Once you have a clear parenting plan structured, follow it to the best of your ability. But allow for last-minute changes and special “favors” to facilitate cooperation.

How Do I Tell the KidsPhotoEncourage your child’s co-parent relationship
Regardless of your personal feelings about your ex, your children need a healthy connection with their other parent. Keep snide comments to yourself and don’t discuss your parenting frustrations with your children. Encourage your kids to maintain a caring, respectful relationship with their other parent. Remind them about Mom or Dad’s birthday and holiday gifts. Make time in the weekly schedule for phone calls, cards, email and letters to keep the children’s connection alive when your co-parent is at a distance. Your children will thank you when they grow up.

Be compassionate with your in-laws
Remember that a Grandparent’s love doesn’t stop after divorce. If your children had a healthy bond with your former spouse’s extended family, don’t punish them by severing that connection. Children thrive on family attachments, holiday get-togethers and traditions they’ve come to love. Grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins can be a great source of comfort to children during stressful times and a sense of continuity with the past. Dissolving those relationships is hurtful to both your children and the other family. Think long and hard before making such an emotionally damaging decision.

Above all, be flexible. When you allow calls from your co-parent when the kids are in your home, they will be more receptive to your calls when the tables are turned. Remember, you are still a parenting team working on behalf of your children. That commonality should enable you to overlook the thorns in your co-parenting relationship and focus on the flowering buds that are the children you are raising. ###

Rosalind Sedacca, CCT is a Divorce and Parenting Coach, founder of the Child-Centered Divorce Network and author of How Do I Tell the Kids about the Divorce? A Create-a-Storybook Guide to Preparing Your Children — with Love! To get her free ebook on Post-Divorce Parenting: Success Strategies for Getting It Right!, free ezine, blog, coaching services and other valuable resources for parents facing, moving through or transitioning after divorce, visit: www.childcentereddivorce.com.

Children of Divorce: Let Them Love Their Other Parent Without Guilt (Rosalind Sedacca)

BTAboutThemWe’ve all heard again and again warnings for parents to not badmouth their former spouse to the children following the divorce. Clearly, while it’s tempting to put Mom or Dad down for the way they’ve hurt you in the marriage, venting to the kids puts them in a very uncomfortable position. They love both of their parents and don’t want to hear about the ways your Ex misbehaved or initiated your divorce.

RSedaccaPhotoBut there’s another factor that doesn’t get as much attention worth bringing up in this same conversation. And that’s forbidding or discouraging your children from expressing love or talking about their other parent around you. Kids naturally want to talk about their lives including things they might have done with their other parent, especially the fun times. If they’re made to feel guilty when bringing up the subject of an adventure with Dad, a shopping spree with Mom, new place they visited or a fun movie they’ve watched together with their other parent, they feel repressed. Consequently, they stop sharing, don’t open up about their feelings as readily, and close up around you. That’s not the path to healthy parent-child communication. Once that door is closed, it can take years of therapy to pry it open again, if ever.

How Do I Tell the KidsPhotoAll parents need to be aware that when a child expresses love, admiration or respect for their other parent, it doesn’t diminish their love for you. Competition for affection between parents, divorced or otherwise, is a no-win road to alienating your children. Parents who are supportive of their children’s relationship with their other parent, even when that parent forms a new romantic relationship with another partner, enable their children to express themselves freely. When children don’t have to guard themselves from “saying the wrong thing” in front of Mom or Dad their relationship with you is more flowing, natural and trusting. And they’ll come to respect and acknowledge you more for your maturity as they themselves age.

And when children do express disapproval of their other parent, don’t chime in with your own negative agenda. They may want to vent, but they’re not looking to handle your emotional baggage. Judgments creating guilt, shame or blame can back-fire on you and close the door to trusting communication. Be a caring listener, supportive in helping them find solutions for their challenges. Divorced or not, that’s what parents are for.

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Rosalind Sedacca is a Divorce & Parenting Coach, Founder of the Child-Centered Divorce Network and author of How Do I Tell the Kids about the Divorce? A Create-a-Storybook Guide to Preparing Your Children – with Love! To learn more about the ebook, go to www.howdoitellthekids.com. For her free ebook on Post-Divorce Parenting, free ezine, coaching services and other valuable resources for parents, visit: www.childcentereddivorce.com.