Divorcing Parents Should Be on the Same Page When Communicating with Their Kids
Most parents want to do anything they can to support their children during and after a divorce. Optimally, spouses put aside whatever disagreements exist between them to develop a parenting plan that truly reflects the best interests of the children they share. Unfortunately, good intentions sometimes aren’t enough to establish a supportive environment.
Like all young people, sons and daughters of divorced spouses want stability, and that can be very difficult to achieve if they’re getting different messages from each parent. You and your co-parent should concentrate on staying on the same page when it comes to communicating with your children. Specific ways you can do that include:
- Discuss first, then announce joint decisions — Children know when parents aren’t cooperating and often feel caught in the middle when conflicts exist. In some cases, young people will try to exploit the differences, seeking approval from one parent for something the other parent has already rejected. When you’re facing a major decision regarding your son or daughter, it’s best to talk things out with your ex first and then communicate to your child that the decision was made jointly.
- Avoid the urge to “win” each issue — Even happily married parents disagree on the everyday issues that arise when raising children. There will never be perfect unity on issues such as bedtimes, curfews and other matters. These concerns are usually best handled by the parent who is taking care of the child at the time. Don’t overstep your bounds and remember that nobody in a situation involving equally shared authority always gets their way.
- Keep your child out of your conflicts — No matter the state of your relationship with your co-parent, you both should do everything possible to shield your child from any conflicts between the two of you. Even mild criticisms of your ex can be a signal to young people that their parents are more focused on tearing each other down than supporting the child they share.
During the process of negotiating child custody arrangements, your divorce lawyer can talk about language you might want to include in your parenting plan that addresses decision-making and communication issues.
Bryan L. Salamone & Associates, P.C. is the Long Island divorce leader because our New York attorneys are determined to achieve positive resolutions for clients and their children. Please call 1.631.479.3839 or contact us online to set up a consultation to discuss your particular family law concerns.