The Rules for Parents

Divorced parents do well to remember a few points when they are with their children.

  • The same goes for gossiping about other parent’s friends or relatives.  For example, regardless of the parents’ divorce, a child remains the grandchild of his or her grandparents forever, and they may be a big part of the child’s life.
  • A child does not need to hear about messy divorce details or other “grown-up stuff ” (the nuts and bolts) about the marital breakup.
  • A child does not need to hear about money or child support because it makes the child feel guilty or like a possession. The child may blame himself for the expenses of the divorce.
  • A child should enjoy the time he or she spends with his or her other parent, and there is no need for the custodial parent to try to change this.
  • A child should be able to communicate freely with the other parent via telephone or Internet, and should never be prevented from speaking to other parent on the phone.
  • Visitation time belongs to the parent and the child sharing it. A child should never be quizzed about the other parent’s life or about visitation time because it makes the child uncomfortable. By the same token, the custodial parent should not try to intervene. That means that the other parent should not call or plan activities, nor intrude by calling.
  • Children should never be enlisted as spies reporting to one parent what the other parent is doing. Spying makes a child feel disloyal and dishonest. By the same token, keeping secrets makes a child nervous.
  • A child should not be the mailman delivering written messages.
  • No divorced parent should blame the other parent for the divorce or for things that go wrong in life. No child wants to be caught in a crossfire between two bitter and warring parents. Parents should be civil and well mannered and never ignore one another by, for example, sitting on opposite sides of the room during school or sports activities.
  • No parent should ask a child to “love him or her more” than the other parent.

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