Whether you are just starting the divorce process, or have been divorced for years, ALWAYS follow these divorce rules for the sake of your children.
Put their mental health and wellbeing above everything else.
Love them more than you loathe your ex.
Think of these tips as your children’s Bill of Rights. No matter how triggered you get, do everything in your power not to violate these rules.
It’s simple, but not easy.
22 rules to live by for divorcing parents
1. Do not talk smack about the other parent – Makes a child feel torn and badly about themselves
2. Do not talk smack about other parent’s relatives or friends – Let them care for someone, even if you don’t
3. Do not talk about the divorce or other adult issues – Spare them the dirty details, let them enjoy being a child and not having to worry about adult concerns
4. Do not talk about Child Support- Makes kids feel guilty, like they’re a possession instead of your kid
5. Do not make them feel bad about spending time with their other parent– Makes them feel timid to tell you things because of your judgement toward their feelings
6. Do not try to keep them from seeing or calling the other parent – Only upsetting to kids
7. Do not interrupt their time with the other parent – Don’t call too often
8. Do not argue in front of kids or on phone when they are in ear shot – Stresses them out and hurts their hearts, sets a bad example
9. Do not ask them to spy for you at other parent’s house– Makes them feel disloyal and dishonest
10. Do not ask them to keep secrets from other parent– Gives them anxiety
11. Do not ask kids intrusive questions about other parent’s life – Puts them in an uncomfortable position
12. Do not send verbal messages through your kids – Gives kids anxiety to do your passive-aggressive dirty work
13. Do not send written messages through your kids either – Most likely they will read it or feel anxious about not knowing what it says
14. Do not blame other parent for the divorce or the things wrong in your life – Kids will feel sorry for you and feel like it’s their duty to protect you, and/or will want to defend other parent, which is not their responsibility
15. Do not treat them like another adult, or your friend – Causes too much stress and confusion for the child, talk to a therapist or an adult friend
16. Do not ignore or sit far away from the other parent when at school, sports or public events – Makes kids feel embarrassed and sad, act friendly
17. Transfer your kid’s personal items for them (ie. Sports gear, equipment) – They have enough going on
18. Do not use guilt or pressure to persuade them to love you “more” than other parent – They will love you both
19. Do not ask where they like living better- Don’t put them in the position where they must choose
20. Realize your kids now have two homes, and it’s nice to invite other parent occasionally to spend time at their (other) house – Why not? If you’re cordial enough…
21. Be flexible, even when it’s not part of the regular schedule – just better for everyone
22. Let your kids love BOTH of you, and see each of you, as much as possible- Be an unbreakable, happy, inclusive modern-family!