10 Things Parents Should Not Do During a Divorce

  1. Do not put your children in the middle of your conflict. It creates a loyalty bind and may increase emotional distress.
  2. Do not allow the children to be a messenger. Parents should talk directly to each other about child-related information.  Create a shared calendar for notification, activities, and logistics.
  3. Do not take kill shots to the other parent. Spare children from the gory details of the reasons for the divorce. They don’t need to hear negativity from either parent. A divorce is hard enough.  Bad mothing the other parent reflects badly on you and a possible unintended consequence is a child who respects you less.
  4. Do not talk finances. Children might feel guilty or that they are financial burdens.
  5. Do not over involve other related adults to get them to see your side. It is embarrassing to children when teachers and coaches “know their family business.”
  6. Do not include children in parental emotional processes. Have developmentally appropriate boundaries with your children.   This behavior increases a parent’s dependency on their child and the child, in turn might feel that he or she needs to protect them. Find a therapist to help you manage feelings
  7. Do not bring paramours around the children if all possible while you are still married. Children often feel confused about their sense of loyalty, and parents’ causal relationships may contribute to children’s sense of insecurity and instability.
  8. Do not have your child spy and then interrogate them on the other parent’s behaviors. Children learn to hide things from others and keep secrets.
  9. Do not disengage from the children because you can’t stand the other parent. Children need their parents.
  10. Do not look to the children to make adult decisions including parenting time schedules, disposition of the house, etc… Kids may feel guilty and burdened when parents ask them what they want. They are kids – don’t put the pressure on them to make grown-up decisions.