Shielding the children from the pain of your divorce is of paramount importance. I had an opportunity to write about that in the past. However, in my practice I see people repeating the same mistakes which are bound to hurt their children. The most common of those are:
- Asking a child directly or subtly, “Which of us do you really want to live with, “and thus placing the burden on the child.
- Allowing a child to take control whenever he or she wants to do so
- Saying unkind things about the other parent to the child or in the presence of the child.
- Asking the child to keep a secret from the other parent and in effect, teaching the child to lie.
- Having the child deliver money or messages from one parent to the other and thus placing the child in the middle.
- Trying to conduct parental business when exchanging children for visitation. Such exchange times are extremely stressful for the children, and many times they feel like they are living out of a suitcase.
- Putting on a long, sad face when the child goes from one parent to the other, thus teaching the child disloyalty to that parent.
- Quizzing the child about what’s going on at the other parent’s home and thus turning the child into a spy or a tattletale.
- Telling a child who wants a new toy or wants to do something that is costs money and then telling him or her “Ask your father because he doesn’t pay me enough support” or “Ask your mother because I give her lots of child support and she just wastes it.”
These are only few examples that, if exercised by one or both parents, are very damaging to your children’s psychological development, no matter how old they are. Your most important role is to help your children to adjust to a single parent family structure. Avoiding those pitfalls will help you to transition and become successful parents despite the fact that you have separated.
It is possible to raise successful children for the parents who are divorced!