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Child Custody and Co-Parenting
“Hands down” the most challenging aspect of my divorce was custody. I had to be careful how I parented, and I had to hold myself accountable for my actions as they related to my son – that meant, I needed to shield him as much as possible from the nastiness of my divorce. I didn’t always want to take the high road, and sometimes I didn’t, but I knew my child was more important – So when I found myself veering off that road, I tried to get back on the right path again.
It’s hard when there are other people (your kids) involved. You need to consider their feelings and their developmental progress. I’ve taught hundreds of children in my many years as a public school teacher. In other words, I have taught hundreds of children that come from divorce. Trust me when I say, divorce is devastating to your children. Therefore, please try to make this process easy for them or as easy as you can make it.
Be positive for your children.
They observe everything you do. Do not bring your kiddo down because you are. My sister always says, “Fake it till you make it.” I agree. Your child picks up on everything. If you’re tense, they’re tense. If you’re upset, they’re upset.
What Kids Say
I used to teach a sociology class – senior level. A large percentage were from divorced homes. We’d have very open discussions about the behavior of people, and I was always amazed at their level of perception and insight into the human psyche. I was also pleasantly surprised how honest and unfiltered they were when we discussed divorce and the effect on the kids.
Fear of the Unknown
The common denominator with all of my students was their fear of the unknown. The veterans of divorce and the newer children of divorce both stated they were anxious about:
- Losing their home
- Splitting time with their parents or not seeing a parent at all
- Money for food, clothes, and prom
- Would they be able to stay in the same school district
- Would they be separated from their siblings
The list went on and on. Many were also anxious and bitter about the fighting between their parents. Even though they empathized with their parents, they didn’t want to hear all the details as to why their parents were splitting. It was too much to handle.
So when I say it can be overwhelming to your kids, I MEAN IT. And after teaching this class over a decade, I know a little something about their feelings and how we must protect our kids during this time. They are fragile, too, so we need to be there for them.
Are you protecting the feelings of your child? How are your actions affecting your child?
If you’re not sure, you may want to ask yourself the 5 basic questions I have listed on my FREE worksheet. If your answers are problematic (do they create problems in your relationship with your child & ex), then you may want to change your behavior in the future.
Use this FREE printable worksheet to come up with a solution. You may even give a copy to your ex, so he/she can work on solutions too.