Important Rules of Being a Divorced Parent
You may think the stress of divorce ends once your decree is signed, but often the stress carries into co-parenting after your divorce.
While co-parenting can be difficult, it’s important to not take the stress out on your children. Keep in mind your divorce has already had an impact on your children. They too are trying to pick up the pieces and move on. They may be struggling with transitioning between their parents’ homes, among other adjustments. While some of these struggles are unavoidable for your child, it’s important that you do what you can to keep additional stress relating to your divorce off their plate.
The 10 Commandments of Divorced Parenting
Here are some of the rules for parenting post-divorce:
- Don’t share any anger or grief with your child.
- Never badmouth, demean, denigrate, or devalue your ex in front of your child.
- Communicate directly with your ex, and never use your child as a messenger.
- Respect your ex’s visitation time.
- Say positive things about your ex in front of your child.
- Never discuss pending family court matters with or in front of your child.
- Help your child do kind gestures (a small gift, Father’s Day card, postcard, etc.) for your ex.
- Encourage your child to communicate– telephone, email, texting, etc.– with your ex while apart.
- Get your child excited about seeing your ex as visitation approaches.
- Include your ex in important decisions.
Convincing your child to be “on your side” may be tempting, but it can also be detrimental to your child. Children often stress over feeling like they are forced to choose a side. In a healthy situation, children will feel loved and accepted by both parents, and the child won’t feel a need to choose.
Parents should never speak negatively about the other parent in front of a child. If your child starts an attack on the other parent, don’t participate.
Your child should never be used in a situation to hurt your ex. Children should never feel guilty for loving the other parent or looking forward to visits with them. Your ex may no longer be your spouse, but he/she will always be your child’s parent. Don’t let your differences with your ex ruin the relationship your children have with their parent.
“Parents need to elevate their behaviors by refusing to engage in any emotional or tactical behaviors that harm their child.”
-John T. Steinbeck
Divorce can take an emotional toll on you and your children. Let Burton Law help ease with burden with experience and compassion. We’ll help deal with the touch issues at hand so you can focus on your family. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.
Michael B. Lundberg is a native of Logan, Utah. While in law school, Mike served as the Executive Articles Editor of the Journal of Law and Family Studies and was published in that Journal, as well as the Utah Law Review. During his third year, he also found time to serve as President of the James E. Faust Chapter of the J. Reuben Clark Law Society.
Mike has worked in a wide variety of areas in the legal field. During law school he worked as an extern with the First District Court in Logan, and later as an extern with the Utah Court of Appeals in the chambers of Judge Carolyn McHugh. After graduation, he was awarded a Dean’s Fellowship to work with Christensen & Jensen, PC in Salt Lake City. He then spent 18 months working as a law clerk for the City Attorney in Park City. He joined Burton Law Firm after operating as a sole practitioner for two years. During this time, he also served on the board of the Utah Young Lawyers Division of the Utah State Bar.