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Created by Rosalind Sedacca, CDC

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The 9 Biggest Mistakes in Post-Divorce Parenting!

By Rosalind Sedacca, CCT

Some parents think once they are divorced and most of the decisions have been made, the worst is behind them. Unfortunately, parenting after divorce is a week by week experience. Your success depends on the decisions you make, your attitude toward your situation and your compassion for your innocent children.

You may have heard it all before, but smart parents quiz themselves regularly to see if they are not falling into some of the traps of destructive post-divorce parenting. If you find yourself making any of these mistakes, it’s never too late to make amends. You may have to alter decisions, adjust some behaviors, give yourself an attitude adjustment and even apologize to your children – or to their Dad! Keep in mind, we all make mistakes that we regret. It’s part of the learning process – especially when we’re parents. It’s far better to set the course straight today than to reap the consequences years from now when your adult children ask: Mom, what were you thinking?

Professionals all agree these are some of the most emotionally damaging mistakes to children that parents make when coping with divorce or separation:

  1. Asking your children to bear the weight of making decisions or choosing sides

 

  1. Failing to remind your children that none of this is in any way their fault

 

  1. Forgetting to emphasize that Mom and Dad will always be their Mom and Dad and always continue to love them — even after the divorce!

 

  1. Confiding adult details to children in order to attract their allegiance, sympathy or emotional support. Save that for adult friends and therapists.

 

  1. Disparaging, putting down or in any way disrespecting their other parent — regardless how justified or tempting — because it creates confusion, guilt, sadness, insecurity and low self-esteem in your children

 

  1. Alienating or keeping your children from having an ongoing loving relationship with their other parent (for your own selfish reasons!)

 

  1. Asking your children to spy, act as messengers between both parents or provide inappropriate details about the other parent’s home life

 

  1. Lying to your children in order to manipulate their attention or sympathy

 

  1. Getting back at your ex by making decisions that will hurt him – even though your children will pay the emotional price (such as moving a great distance away, not inviting your ex to a graduation or other important occasion, punishing him for financial problems by limiting visitation, etc.)

All of these behaviors are bound to backfire on you. If not immediately, then down the line as your children grow and understand more about the world. A good question to keep in mind when making all decisions about your children is: What will they say to me about how I handled the divorce when they are adults?

You and your children can survive — and even thrive after divorce. Think before you leap and give your children the best possible opportunity to face the changes ahead by providing them with security, compassion and love.

For more information about success strategies for a Child-Centered Divorce, including Rosalind Sedacca’s free ebook on Post-Divorce Parenting, her ezine, blog, articles, book, teleseminars, coaching and more, visit: //www.childcentereddivorce.com

2 Comments

  1. This list of mistakes needs to be in every divorcing parents’ hands. It could save so much grief.

  2. Thanks, Jean. I totally agree. All divorce attorneys and mediators should be sharing this information with their clients.

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The 9 Biggest Mistakes in Post-Divorce Parenting!

Some parents think once they are divorced and most of the decisions have been made, the worst is behind them. Unfortunately, parenting after divorce is a week by week experience. Your success depends on the decisions you make, your attitude toward your situation and your compassion for your innocent children.

You may have heard it all before, but smart parents quiz themselves regularly to see if they are not falling into some of the traps of destructive post-divorce parenting. If you find yourself making any of these mistakes, it’s never too late to make amends. You may have to alter decisions, adjust some behaviors, give yourself an attitude adjustment and even Read More

4 Comments

  1. I’m frustrated that my ex won’t communicate with me about parenting our child. We have 50/50 custody. I feel that she just ignores me about matters where our views (parenting style) differ. We have an 11 year old. The latest issue is with our daughter’s swim team. My ex doesn’t particpate in encouraging/requiring her to attend the team’s expected practice times; instead, leaves me to take her during my time. Her approach is to take our daughter when our daughter wants to go; “when she feels like it.” I feel like I’m made to be the bad person and experience conflict with my daughter about going to practice, not to mention having to carry the full burden of juggling home life with her activity. I’ve taken to telling my daughter that it’s her responsibility to go to practice when she’s with her mom, which I’m now feeling is not the best thing. Giving up has crossed my mind, but I think it’s a vindictive reaction.

  2. I feel your frustration and wish there was a magical answer. Sounds like a counseling session might be of value to you either alone — or together — to get to the heart of your communication issues. Is there a lack of trust, resentfulness, ignorance or other factors going on? If you can ask some questions without pointing a finger and creating defensiveness you might be able at least to start a dialog for the benefit of the three of you.

    Good luck!

    Rosalind

  3. Hi,
    My problem is that at the moment my ex has been issued a garnishee order for arrear maintenance, thankfully the legal route has gotten him to adhere to his financial obligation towards the children – I am exceptionally supportive of my Ex having a relationship with our three kids, but since the order was issued he has advised me that he wants nothing to do with me, and that I must leave the kids with a third party and collect from a third party evey second weekend – prior to the order things were going exceptionally well and we were in my opinion having a successfull attempt at co-parenting. I was sworn at and spoken to in a disrespectulf manner, which is understandable as my Ex was rather angry about the order – however this is still unacceptable and I do beleive that the kids should not pick up on the latest conflict – I have sole custody of the kids and I do not discuss nor divulge the current financial affairs with the kids as they are exceptionally young 8,7 and 4 and our eldest has been diagnosed with ADHD and is currently seeing a therapist as he is battling from a physcological point of view. My concern is how do I communicate my concerns to my Ex as he refusses to take my calls and in all honesty I am also tired of being the only “responsible parent”, but the kids need stability and I dont honestly know how I would let them know why I am going to be fetching them from a third party on their weekends with their Dad? I do feel that even though my Ex is angry with me and has stressed he wants nothing to do with me – that will never happen as I am a big part of his life and the Mommy of his three children and always will be – (prior to the order we got on just fine!) I need some guidance please on how I let my Ex know that for the sake of the kids he needs to every second weekend just be polite for the sake of the kids he does not think that this change will affect the kids – he also does not undestand that I am the one having to answer the questions – and I am honestly running out of excuses for my Ex and do beleive that I am being placed in an unfair position.

    Or I need some advice am I being silly, my concern is the kids I am an adult and can deal with his anger my our children are innocent and have had to deal with enough already

    Please help

  4. You are not being silly. Your concerns are justified for the sake of the kids. I am so pleased that you are aware of how they can be influenced by all this — and confused as well.

    You certianly need to communicate with their Dad. Can you write him an email note? He needs to understand, despite his resentment towards you, that you must both continue co-parenting in the best possible way regarding the children. Let him know their confusion about a third party having to step in when they transition. Ask him to create a pretense of civility when the kids are around so they can continue to enjoy their childhood. See if that hits a chord with him.

    You may also try to open the door to better communication between you both by discussing the financial situation and your perspective on why you had to take the steps you did. Remind him that you both must keep the kids’s well-being first in your minds and decisions.

    If you need to use the third party for transitions for a while, go ahead while still trying to communicate with your former spouse. Don’t give up on this. You can also suggest meetintg with an objective third party such as a therapist or clergy to listen to you both and help you reach a more peaceful state of co-parenting for the months and years to come.

    I wish you success and a peaceful resolution to your challenge. You are not alone in these circumstances. Keep persisting in your efforts to open the door to mature and responsible communication with the father of your children.

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