Do’s and Don’ts of Divorce

Do’s and Don’ts of Divorce

Families don’t end in divorce- they change. There’s a lot of adjustment. Sometimes figuring out how to share parenting responsibilities brings up old issues from the marriage. Despite this, it is important that you both put your kids’ needs first.

Co-parenting Counseling helps parents restructure time. You will learn to adjust to custody arrangements and how to set up space in each home to make kids feel secure. You will also learn to set healthy boundaries so everyone feels safe and respected and to resolve any lingering dysfunction from the past. Divorce is an especially vulnerable time for kids – especially in the pre-separation and moving out phase.

Here are some guidelines:

Do’s

  • Do set a united front when making decisions for the child.
  • Do implement consistent rules in each household to help kids feel safe.
  • Do be consistent with routines, lessons and structure for your child. Each parent may do things differently – but consistency within each household helps
  • Do avoid blaming or attacking the other parent – especially in front of the kids.
  • Do look for solutions rather than focusing on problems. Instead of saying “What do you do with Johnny? He always cries when he comes back from your house,” try saying “How can we help Johnny deal with transitions better? He’s having a rough time.”
  • Do view the child’s difficulties or behavior problems as symptoms of emotional discomfort that need to be addressed.
  • Do support the relationship the child has with each parent.
  • Do organize your child’s belongings and schedule so the child can handle having two homes more easily- like having two sets of the same things if that’s affordable.
  • Do help your child understand scheduling by explaining any changes in age-appropriate ways. If there is a scheduling problem, try to resolve it with your ex so your kid doesn’t get caught in the middle.
  • Do make sure your co parenting plan is comfortable for your child to follow and suits  their developmental age.
  • Do make sure the co parenting plan child focused.
  • Do help your child deal with feelings that may come up by creating opportunities to talk and be together.
  • Do take the opportunity to rebuild as your family changes.

Don’ts

  • Don’t let kids get caught in the middle of conflict between you and the other parent.
  • Don’t reject the other parent’s influence.
  • Don’t undermine the child’s affection for the other parent.
  • Don’t bring another romantic partner into your child’s world for at least 6 months.
  • Don’t talk negatively about the other parent.
  • Don’t use the child as a messenger.

If you would like to learn more about how you can begin therapy, or have any questions please call 415-563-4342 or 510-883-9312, or email me directly at susanmreganmft@gmail.com. 

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