Parental Tips for Separated Parents
How To Manage Kids After Parents Separated
“I asked Mom and she already agrees that I go out with my friends tonight.”
“But Daddy wants me to do my homework before playing video games!”
Sounds familiar? Parental authority on both sides of a separated household can be a real challenge. Collaborating, despite separation and conflict, is often hard work for divorced parents but always a good thing for children to do. For example, one of the biggest challenges in the organization of shared guardians is that of differences in parenting styles, and in particular the approach of the discipline.
You and your ex-spouse need to work together for the well-being of the child!
Setting limits and explaining the consequences is essential for the health and development of the children. In order to develop, children must be able to identify the structure, coherence and limits of their environment. Setting boundaries is a great help for children to feel safe. It also helps to shape the critical thinking they need to succeed in school and in life.
But what happens when, with separated parents, children learn different lessons about the limits and consequences of their actions?
This will place them in the need to handle real challenges by drawing on the last entrenchments of their parents and relatives.
Tips to Help Child Prosper In Disputed Environment
“Does my son start to prefer mom’s house?”
“Does he learn better at home than dad?”
So many questions that translate the vulnerabilities of separated parents and that can quickly be the source of anger or resentment that will further widen the gap between them, or encourage them to win the favor of children by the relaxation of rules in their own home.
However, having two homes, with loving and caring adults, can also open new horizons for the child. Here are some tips to ensure the child’s serene experience of a family circle and help him prosper:
Try To Be On The Same Wavelength between Separated Parents
Set up meetings to talk about the expectations of each parent, the approaches but also the limits and consequences of each decision making. It’s a way of working in agreement despite the separation. It is also important to ensure that meetings are set up when conflicts are not active.
Do not introduce the principle of “the kind and the bad” by believing to improve the development of the child; because in the long run, this dynamic usually results in children perfectly able to get what they want from each parent outside the presence of the other.
Remind your ex-spouse that meetings are held for the well-being of the child, and that they are not favors granted to the parent from whom one has separated. It is important to keep the needs of the child at the center of the conversation and to minimize the impact of ongoing conflicts between parents.
If none of the separated parents are able to have a civilized or productive conversation, it is possible to consider using an outside mediator. A trained person, able to integrate the development of the child and able to help each separated parent:
- To understand how to use one’s strengths to help the child
- To best contribute to the development of the child in each household
Generally, separated parents find it difficult to agree on everything, and it is not possible to anticipate all scenarios. The important thing is to tackle the main points and concerns to work on key issues. It is important not to fight on insignificant points regarding the well-being of the child.
Help the Child Adapt To Different Rules
Generally, separated parents must be more careful to find areas of agreement with respect to the child. The goal here is to help the child adapt to different rules (school, grandparents, nanny, etc.).
To be able to make the child understand the differences between the places of residence of the separated parents and to find suitable occupations on both sides to the needs of the child.
Avoid power struggles.
Never openly denigrate or pass judgment on the other parent’s set of rules in front of their child. “I know that your mother allows you to stay later and we both love you, but we do it differently. In this house, bedtime is 8pm.”
Be patient and consistent with the child so that he discovers and adapts to rules that are different for each parent. The more coherent you will be, the faster the child will understand that in each of the houses, the rules are different.
Create “family routines”, those predictable little behaviors that help the child understand and practice the rules.
Good Practices with Children
All children, whether their parents are divorced or not, will push them to the limit. But the fact remains that it is your job to define these limits.
If the divorce is new, the child is even more inclined to want to test the limits and play with your emotions. However, care must be taken to do one’s best to remain calm, consistent and recognize the positive behaviors that the child may have. It is important to spend time with him and comfort him. If the child is older, it will be necessary to find more creative ways to stay connected.
Being consistent and firm does not mean being unreasonable and authoritarian. Listen to the feelings and opinions of the child. Participate in the negotiation when it seems logical and correctly formulated.
Preserve the rules you have defined, while ensuring that they do not interfere with those of the other parent.
We all make mistakes. Be prepared to apologize to the child if you have said something in front of him that you will regret or who is in conflict with your period.
Get help and talk to other parents. Friends and family are all points of support about the challenges and frustrations you face. Thus, it will be less likely that these feelings will emerge in front of your children.
Give in to your children to win their love or try to be their friend during a transition period is likely to turn against you. Children feel safer when you are the parent and position yourself as a parent.
In an ideal world, near a separation or divorce, both parents of a family would seek to stay a short drive from one house to another. But children live in difficult times because separated parents usually move away. And for a child, losing one’s mom or dad can be a difficult situation. However, changes in life do not always allow separated parents to stay put. If you and your ex-spouse have a shared custody agreement, and one of you has to move to another department or country, there are ways to make this shared custody work.
Despite the distance, both parents should do their best to stay in touch with the development of their children’s lives. Children with strong parenting figures in their lives have much better assets to evolve. Keeping communication simple and well-organized visits are therefore keys to long-term parental success.