What You DON’T Say to Your Children is in Their “Best Interest”

 

One of the biggest challenges facing clients who are involved in a custody dispute is remembering to keep their children, the subject of the dispute, out of it.  How successful or unsuccessful you are with this challenge could make or break your position with the judge in your case.

3 important things to remember:

  • While honesty and open communication is key to continuing a healthy relationship with your children, the play by play or status of your on-going custody case should never be a part of any conversation that you have with your children. Instead, reassure the children that you and your spouse are working together and will let the children know when there is resolution.

 

  • Discussing your ex’s past transgressions or their lack of parenting skills in the presence of your children will only hurt your children. These “conversations” that you may be having with your friends or family members while your children are within earshot are what judges often refer to as “disparaging remarks” and judges have little patience or tolerance for and neither parent should disparage the other parent in front of the children.    Set an example for how your children should act.  While you may have nothing good to say about your spouse keep your real feelings to yourself so you not fueling the fire.

 

  • Asking your children to choose between you and your ex is never acceptable – never. Your responsibility as a parent is to prioritize your children’s well-being before your own.    Divorce makes children feel vulnerable and fearful.    Reassure your children that they are important and you will always take care of them.
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Children and Divorce

One of the most challenging issues a parent going through a divorce has to deal with is what and how to tell their children about their divorce.  The heartbreak and sadness a parent feels as a result of the breakdown of the partnership they once had with their spouse often pales in comparison to the stress and concern one goes through when they think of their own child’s heartbreak and sadness over their divorce.

Although not an easy conversation to have with your children there are a few pointers that are important to keep in mind when discussing divorce with your children:

  • Honesty is the best policy – Telling your children the truth about why their parents are breaking up without disparaging the other parent can be a hard pill to swallow. Sticking to simple and honest explanations like “We can’t get along anymore” is enough information to ensure your children that your divorce is not a result of anything your children have done.
  • Reassurance – You can never say “I love you” too many times to your children during this time. Reassuring your children that although the feelings both you and your spouse have for each other may have changed, the feelings you and your spouse have for the children will never change.
  • Prepare them for the new normal – The uncertainty of what to expect in the future can create anxiety in children. Laying out a plan regarding living arrangements and parenting schedules can help ease a child’s concerns about their relationships with each of their parents, and their day-to-day routines.