Handling the communication during the divorce process about your children can be difficult. How do you handle the stress when the two parties can’t seem to agree on how to divide the time between the parents or how to handle discipline? Sometimes, parents weren’t on the same page about parenting when they were married. Then they struggle to work out parenting issues after parting ways. It is heartbreaking that many parents will try to use their kids as pawns during divorce negotiations. The following article will give you several tips to keep in mind as you navigate this stressful and tumultuous time.
1) Put the children’s needs FIRST. You may think that your ex is a jerk, but the fact remains that this is your child’s dad. It is imperative that mothers not interfere with the relationship with their child’s father. You need to allow their relationship to build as it may. If we interfere, your children will only blame YOU and resent YOU. He may not have been the perfect husband or father, but it isn’t our job to point that out to his children. Which leads me to the next tip….
2) Bite that tongue…. When you want to unload about your ex because he didn’t make the child support payment or is not financially responsible, DO NOT speak of it in front of the children. They are part of him, so if you speak ill of him, they believe that you’re speaking ill of them too. Even if you’re speaking on the phone and don’t believe they can hear you, they can. And they can sense that negative energy that you are spewing about their father. So, don’t say anything negative about the relationship or their father when you are anywhere near them. Projecting your anger and describing your ex’s flaws (real or imagined), getting the children to “side” with you over their father may feel satisfying in the short term, but damages your children significantly in the long run. This may lead to alienating children from their father. The courts do recognize this and you run the risk of jeopardizing custody. If you are projecting your anger, hurt, and disappointment over the demise of the marriage by demonizing your ex in front of your children, it may be time to seek help from a divorce coach to help you sort out your unresolved feelings. So, think CAREFULLY before saying anything about your ex while the children are in the house.
3) What goes around, comes around… When you’re thinking of “sticking it” to your ex with an inflexible schedule or saying no when he asks for the kids to visit Nana for her 90 year old birthday even though it falls on your day, remember that when you want to do something special, you will want that flexibility, too. So keep in mind that being flexible and working WITH your ex will benefit you, and ultimately your children.
4) Communicate POSITIVELY. If your divorce proceedings are really nasty, keep your comments positive and stick to the facts only. Don’t dump your feelings and tell him what SHOULD be done and rant about how it’s not fair and get caught up in the emotions of the situation. If you tend to get caught up in emotions and lose your temper when speaking with your ex, communicate through texts or emails. Keep it simple, emotion-free, and stick to the facts only. Your ex may know how to push your buttons to get you emotionally charged, but YOU are ultimately responsible for your words and your actions.
5) Let the little things go. Daddy didn’t brush your daughter’s hair and style it. Your son is not wearing matching socks. They ate a little junk food. So what? The important thing to keep in mind is the well-being of your children. You should do everything possible to foster and encourage a healthy, happy relationship between your children and their father. It’s time to separate your differences in the marriage from your children’s father. Allow your ex to be the best father he can be. What a gift that will be to your children!
If you are struggling in your communication with your ex, it may be time to get help from a divorce coach to help you move forward. Take this questionnaire to see where you stand in the divorce process and to get a free e-book, “Seven Tips for Getting Over Your Ex”.