Divorce is difficult for everyone. Divorce affects the two adults involved, plus their children, but it also affects extended family. Regardless of who “wins” custody, regardless of where the children live, these kids have two sides to their family.
The town I live in requires adults to take a class called “Child In The Middle” before a judge will sign the divorce petition.
I actually believe it would be in children’s best interests, if this was required in all towns. Even the most well meaning adults often, without realizing, put their children in the middle.
So, what are some of the things to avoid? Do not say to your child “go ask mommy” or “go ask daddy”. It is not up to the child to be a go between. It is up to the two adults to speak directly to each other, or through their attorneys if they can not communicate. When a child is asked to be a go between, and should one of the parents get upset with the message, the child feels they somehow are responsible, when they are just an innocent messenger.
Do not ask your child about your ex spouses new girlfriend or boyfriend. The kids are just as uncomfortable with this as you are. They don’t want another mother, or another father. They don’t want to have to betray you by liking the new person in their parent’s life. So make it easy on them. Don’t ask.
Don’t put your child in the position of ever having to choose. Remember one of you is mom and one of you is dad. It is unfair at the least to ask a child to choose. You both brought this child into the world. At one time it was fine for the child to love you both. Make it ok for the child to love you both today too.
Don’t speak poorly of the child’s other parent. Remember it was joint love that brought this child into the world. That child feels they are a part of both of you. If you speak poorly of the child’s other parent, the child takes it personally.
Do let your child know how sorry you are that they have to go to two homes, learn two addresses etc.
Do let your child know you will do everything you can to support their relationship with the other parent.
Do listen to your children. They often will guide you to let you know what they need.
Article Source: http://www.buzzle.com/articles/parents-divorce-children-feel-pain.html
Audrey Okaneko is mom to two girls. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or visited at http://www.scrapping-made-simple.com