This is a very interesting article by Rosalind Sedacca, to the point and good advice. If you need help and advice with children matters, do not hesitate to contact a member of our Family Team at Crombie Wilkinson Solicitors
Divorce and Parenting - For Some It's No Big Deal!
By Rosalind Sedacca, CCT
Here are several of her insights worth integrating into your own tool box of parenting dos.
Encourage your children to enjoy the time they spend with your ex. That way they'll feel comfortable, rather than disloyal, talking about it.
Don't try and compete with your ex. Children quickly see through that. My daughter described it as 'freaky when parents behave so childishly'. So no trying to beat the ex on Christmas presents: your children will despise you, not thank you for it.
Recognize what's important to your children's lives and don't undervalue their need for friends and out of school activities. Custodial arrangements often ignore the needs of children to be children. Seeing friends is critical, and missing key sports matches can be devastating and ostracizes them from their team mates who they've let down (how do you feel when you've had to let someone down?).
Recognize the moral rights of children to love both of their parents. Your arguments with your ex are not relevant unless there is a risk of abuse. Mothers who succeeded in getting the father out of their children's lives set themselves up for a very difficult time as single parents and their children eventually hate them for stealing their father from them.
Plan for the future. Don't assume that you won't both find new partners and these new partners often question your arrangements.
Don't assume or expect your children to form attachments to step relations, but if they do form, then treat those new relationships with the same respect as their blood relatives. Boyfriends or girlfriends who've as acted as step parents often suddenly disappear when Mom or Dad breaks up with them. Children can find this as heartbreaking as losing a parent and makes them hold back from forming emotional bonds in the future.
Live as close as you can to each other. That way the children can always come around for a cuddle when they need to. I promise that you won't be bumping into each other all the time. In six years I never have, not once.
Finally don't assume that your older children will not be as affected by your divorce. I found that the reverse was true. Those who were in their 30s when their parents got divorced appeared to suffer more and for longer than those who were young children. They were the ones still seeing counselors up to five years after the divorce.
No one ever said it was easy to parent through and beyond divorce. But if this is your challenge, why not approach it in a way that supports everyone in the family? Honoring relationships, respecting your children's right to be attached to both of their parents, taking the high road during conflicts and learning how to let go when there are no other options are all ways to be a role model for your children.
They will thank you in the long term for this. I know my own son did when he grew up. And there is no more gratifying words you can hear than, "Thank you, Mom, for getting us all through the divorce on good terms. Not all of my friends have been that fortunate."