Tips For Parenting While Divorced or Separated

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1.
Do not speak badly about your child's other parent.
The idea of speaking badly of your child's other parent will cause your child to become anxious and confused.
He or she needs to make their own decisions about the person their other parent is.
Just because you may have feelings of anger and resentments about your relationship with the other parent, does not mean that the child does, or that the other parent is a bad parent.
2.
Do not block the access to the other parent.
I see this one all the time.
You will not win any awards for intentionally blocking a parent and a child from seeing one another.
This behavior only breeds anger and sadness in a child and makes the other parent increasingly angry and possibly desperate.
3.
Let the child take his/her personal belongings back and forth from home to home.
Again, a very popular topic.
I hear this dispute almost daily.
If a child has a game or toy that he or she loves, let the child travel between their homes with it.
The issue parents bring up to me is that because they purchased the product, it should stay within their home.
The excuse is that they do not want it disappearing at the other parents home.
Do you think that the other parent might play with it when the child is not there?With that said, moving cumbersome belongings back and forth is unreasonable.
4.
Realize that your child or children do have two homes, not just one.
Enable your child to adjust to the fact that he or she has two homes.
This could be a helpful idea to stress since most children live by the idea that the more one has the better.
5.
Do not give messages, money or any other items to your child or children to deliver to his/her other parent.
I must stress to you that doing this makes a child the messenger and places he or she between his or her parents.
In today's world of email, fax machines, text messaging, electronic transfers and other forms of communication, there is no reason to burden your child.
This also decreases the likelihood that the child will misplace or lose something and get the blame for it.
6.
Do allow your child to call his/her other parent freely.
A general rule of thumb is to enable the child or children to speak to their other parent freely.
Allow them to call as they wish.
With that said, the times a child would like to call their other parent must be reasonable.
For example, your daughter asks to speak to her mother just as you are sitting down to dinner.
It is perfectly fine to say that you would like to get through dinner first and then she can spend as much time as she would like on the phone with her mother.
Realize that most of your child's phone calls will not take too long.
7.
Do not make your child or children feel bad for enjoying their time with their other parent.
I saved one of the best for the last.
THIS IS NOT A PARENTING COMPETITION! It is OK for a child to like to spend time with their other parent.
That should not translate into you are a bad parent.
I am aware that often times there are a lot of guilty feelings as a couple goes through a separation.
Remember that is your issue to deal with, not your child's.
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