When there is a divorce, parents need to protect their children from putting them in the middle of arguments, making them choose sides, and making confidantes out of them. Children have been wounded enough by the attachment injury without inflicting more pain on them by using them to punish an ex-partner. There is a need for some structure that both parents follow in order to protect the children. Since you are no longer in a marriage relationship, you still are parenting partners. The following are some guidelines that parenting partners need to follow.
I will not use our children as confidantes, rather we will seek counsel from our lawyer or therapist.
I will not criticize my parenting-partner in front of the children.
I will speak directly to my parenting-partner about issues related to the children rather than using the children as messengers.
If the children are living with me, I will share pertinent information such as activities, report cards, etc. with my parenting-partner so they keep a good relationship with their father/mother.
I will not make our children feel guilty about enjoying themselves with their other parent.
I will respect the privacy of our children's relationship with my parenting-partner.
I will try to help our children maintain a relationship with relatives on both sides.
I will cooperate with my parenting-partner in the continued parenting of our children by maintaining the same discipline and structure.
I will explain the divorce to my children every six months.
I will explain to the children that the divorce was not their fault.
If I am responsible for child support, I will pay it on time.
In the next articles, we will explore the reasons for these guidelines.
Dr. William E. Austin is a licensed psychotherapist and holds a Doctor of Divinity degree. He is a therapist with Tidewater Pastoral Counseling Services . He is well known for his warmth and sense of humor. His book, Creating Our Safe Place - Articles on Healthy Relationships, can be purchased through www.amazon.com.
Tidewater Pastoral Counseling: 623-2700
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