Divorced Parents: Parenting Tips Do's and Do Not's

 Let's begin with the DO NOT'S. Don't say or behave in any of the ways depicted in the above video. If a picture is worth a thousand words, a video is worth one million. These are perect examples of how NOT to behave as you are going through a divorce. If you truly love your child, DON'T behave like the parents in this film.

Now for the DO's. Do Everything you can to Follow these Divorced Parenting Tips

No Divorced Parenting Tips, or Divorced Parenting Guide can guarantee a way to steer kids unscathed through a divorce. Every situationevery parentevery child is different. But there are some practical, commonsense guidelines might make the adjustment to divorced parents a bit easier for your children.

These recommendations and divorced parenting tips can make the process of divorce less painful for kids. Honesty, sensitivity, self-control, compassion and time itself will help the healing process. Be patient  not every childs timetable is the same.

1. Encourage kids to discuss their feelings  positive or negative  about what's happening. (This is a wonderful place to use The CAPABLES Feelings Talk Heart)
It's important for divorcingand already divorcedparents to sit down with their kids and encourage them to share what they're thinking and feeling. The CAPABLES Feelings Talk and Listening Heart helps you listen while not allowing your own feeling to get in the way of your child(ren) expressing theirs. Children are just that-children. They experience a sense of deep loss of family and may blame themselves, you or the other parent for what they perceive as a betrayal, or even broken promises. Be prepared to answer questions your kids might raise and address their concerns with patience, love and understanding.

2. Help your kids understand that the divorce is NOT their fault
It's natural for kids to have many emotions about a divorce. They might feel guilty and imagine that they "caused" the problem. This is particularly true if they ever heard their parents argue about them. Kids may feel angry or frightened, and most certainly anxious and confused. They often worry they will be abandoned by or "divorced from" their parents, especially the one they wont be living most of the time with.

Attempt to make communicating about the divorce, and how it's affecting your kids, an open door subject that they feel they can talk about as often as they need to. As kids get older and become more mature, new questions or concerns can surface. Even if it seems like you've gone over the same topics before, keep the dialogue open and safe. Remember, they are going through a divorce just like you.

3. Find someone to talk to
Find someone to talk to about how you are feeling, especially if you are feeling angry. If you feel like you get too upset to be of real help to your kids, ask someone else (a relative, maybe) to talk to them. Group programs for kids of divorce run by schools or faith-based organizations are an excellent resource for kids going through a divorce.

4. Support your child(ren) in feeling love for both parents
In an attempt to help your child feel better, it might be tempting to tell a child not to feel a certain way, (for example: Dont feel bad. You will see Dad this weekend.) but kids (and adults, for that matter) dont know how to shut off feelings. So it is better to teach your child that feelings are feelings, not facts. They will feel things throughout their lives and think they will be sad forever, but the good news about feelings is the same as the bad news about feelings, they change.

Although kids may struggle with a divorce for quite some time, like adults, the real impact is usually felt over the first 2-to-3-year period. During this time, some children will be able to voice their feelings but, depending on their age and development, other kids just won't have the words. They may instead act out or be depressed. That is why the CAPABLES Feelings Heart can be so useful. Allow your child to write down the name of both parents and put them inside their heart. Unless there has been terrible abuse, encourage your child to love both mom and dad, and hold both of you dear. For school-age kids, during a divorce you can often see your childs grades drop or they might lose interest in activities for a period of time. For younger children, these feelings are often expressed during play, too.

5. Do NOT bad-mouth your ex in front of the kids, even if you're still angry or feuding.
It is important for you to be a responsible role model. This can be difficult. But it's important not to say negative things about your ex. The problems, betrayal, and challenges you face with your ex are not your childrens. Bad-mouthing your ex often backfires. No child likes to hear a parent criticized, especially if it is by the other parent. Kids can get angry at the parent who is saying the bad things, or worse, learn that vindictive behavior is appropriate when you are mad.

6. Have integrity
The reason I said have integrity, instead of be honest, is because there is a big difference between integrity and honesty. Integrity means you are who you say you are, and you do what you say you will do. Some people think just because they tell you exactly how they are feeling, especially when they are feeling angry or hateful, they are being honest. This is not honesty. This is venting anger.

7. Acknowledge real events
It's equally important to acknowledge real events. A divorce is so traumatic that parents can tip toe around real events. If, for example, one spouse has simply abandoned the family by moving out, acknowledge what has happened and be willing to talk about feelings around what has happened, but it isn't your responsibility to explain, judge or defend the ex-spouse's behavior  let him or her do so with the kids.

8. Do NOT use kids as messengers or go-betweens, especially when you're feuding.
Kids are not weapons or pawns on the divorce chessboard. They shouldnt feel that they must act as messengers between hostile parents or carry one adult's secrets or accusations about another. As difficult as it might be for you, don't question your child about what is happening in the other household. They are not your personal detectives, nor are they spies. Your children resent it when they feel that they're being asked to "spy & tell" on the other parent. Wherever possible, communicate directly with the other parent about relevant matters, such as scheduling, visitation, health issues, or school problems. If you cannot talk to your ex spouse get an adult mentor, or advocate to help you keep communication positive.

9. Expect your kids to resist a new mate or the new mate's kids.

New relationships, blended families, and remarriages are among the most difficult parts of the divorce process. A new, blended family doesn't eliminate the impact of divorce  in fact, research shows that kids in these new families experience problems similar to those who remain with a single parent.

So, it's important to assure kids that they still have a mother and father who care for them and to help them blend into a new family structure. Don't expect kids to accept a stepparent as another parent right away. That, of course, will take time. The initial role of a stepparent is that of another caring adult in a child's life. They must earn your childs trust; they do not deserve it immediately. Stepparents need to be respected the same way that your children respect teachers, coaches, and other adults who help them. But developing a trusting, loving relationship takes time and patience.

10. Seek Support and to Support
Seek support groups, friendships, mentors and counseling. Single parents need all the help they can get. Support from clergy, friends, relatives, and groups such as Parents Without Partners, and MOPS can help parents and their kids adjust to separation and divorce. Kids can meet others who've developed successful relationships with separated parents and can confide in each other, while adults need special support through these trying times. But also remember that you can serve others who are hurting as well. When you help another heal, you are helping yourself heal. Giving is a very selfish thing because it always comes back to you multiplied.

11. Be a Positive Parent and Positive Person
Whenever possible, kids should be encouraged to have as positive an outlook on both parents as they can. There is no positive outcome from attempting to turn your child against one of their parents. Even under the best of circumstances, separation and divorce will be painful and disappointing for your children.

Divorce is one of the most emotionally difficult experiences any human will go through. It is understandable that, despite your best intentions, you might want to broadcast your pain and anger, and attempt to get your children on YOUR side. All I can tell you is; DONT. Positive parents who can foster a positive adjustment and good times, even during difficult circumstances, model one of the most important and valuable lessons we can teach our childrenhow to handle great adversity without it making us small, punitive, vindictive and cruel. This is your time as a parent, to show your child(ren) what you are truly made of. And my hope is that you will use this very tragic time to teach your child(ren) you are made of the right stuff. Good Luck.

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