focus on being a parent to your children.
While it’s normal to have negative feelings about your ex, you’ll have to resolve those issues privately, and not around your children. Your goal should be to create a more peaceful life for them after the legal battle is over. With a little practice and effort, you can help your children cope with the new living arrangement:
- If you have nothing good to say about your ex, don’t say it. Try to speak about your ex in positive terms when you are around your children. If that’s not yet possible, then make it clear to your children that your issues are between you and your ex, and do not involve them.
- Avoid heated arguments with your ex when your children are around.
- Do not use the children as couriers for information you should be discussing directly with your ex. Communicate by email or phone with your ex about matters pertaining to your children such as the monthly support and pick up times.
- Don’t use your children to gain personal information about your ex.
- Establish a regular routine as well as house and safety rules in your own home to bring some stability in the lives of your children.
- Resist the urge to react negatively when your children rave about the other parent or about the things they do in the other home.
- Do not promote anger or hatred for the other parent, even if the separation was the other parent’s own doing. Anger can prevent a child from maintaining a close personal relationship with the other parent.
- Reassure your children of your love, care and attention regardless of the situation. Avoid using the threat of abandonment (even if it is an empty one) to instill discipline upon difficult children. It is common for separated parents to see their children act out their emotional confusion and distress by being problematic or undisciplined.
- Be careful about misleading children into thinking that reconciliation between their parents is a possibility. Some children find it difficult to adjust to the separation of their parents when they cling to the illusion that their parents will be back in each other’s arms someday.
- Develop your own ways of displaying affection towards your children. A hug or a pat on the back can bolster the verbal assurances you give your children.
- Acknowledge your children’s feelings for the other parent. Allow them to express their emotions by crying and talking things over with you.
- Take time out to relax with your children. Playing with your children also helps them heal from the psychic wounds inflicted by the separation.