Children and divorce: things to bear in mind
Divorce or separation is not an event but a process. Here's some advice on the things to think about as time moves on
You will always be dad and mum
It doesn’t matter what you and your child’s mum think about each other, your child only sees you as their dad and mum. They love you both and need you to show each other respect. Even if you find it really difficult to speak to your child’s mum, make sure that you don’t ask your child to share your feelings – not even a little bit!
A Bill of Rights was suggested by two Family Court Judges in States that is aimed at freeing children from the burdens that can be placed on them by their parents.
- not to be asked to choose sides between their parents
- not to be told the details of bitter or nasty legal proceedings going on between their parents
- not to be told bad things about the other parent’s personality or character
- to privacy when talking to their other parent on the telephone
- not to be interrogated or cross examined after spending time with their other parent
- not to be asked to tell untruths to their other parent
- not to be used as a confidant in regard to the legal proceedings between parents
- not to be asked to be a messenger from one parent to the other
- to express feelings whatever they may be
- to choose not to express certain feelings
- to be protected from parental warfare
- not to be made to feel guilty for loving both parents
Keep communications open
The key to successfully traversing any problems that you may encounter is good communications. This does not mean that you have to be chatting every five minutes but it does mean that you must exchange important information about your child’s needs and experiences. If you find it difficult to talk, find another method of communicating.
It’s important to remember that your care and contact arrangements are for the wellbeing of your child. Be prepared to be flexible if it is in the interests of your child even if you really don’t feel like being co-operative with your child’s mum.
It’s also important to remember that your child’s needs will change over time and what is appropriate when they are five may not be appropriate when they are ten.
Be careful about introducing new partners
Introducing new partners into your child’s life may prove to be more difficult than you imagine. Your child may take time to adjust and may well resent a new woman’s presence in their lives. You should not introduce new partners too quickly. Talk to your children about how it makes them feel.
Be positive and enjoy being a parent
Facing parenting on your own can be painful and daunting. You may not see as much of your children as you would like. You may find it difficult to cope with your child’s upset whilst dealing with your own. You may initially struggle with providing hands-on care for your children alone.
However, you are a dad and you can provide something unique for your children. Stick in there and make the most of things, whatever the circumstances. You will not only get a great deal of satisfaction from it yourself but you will be giving your children the strong bonds that will allow them to reach their full potential in the world.
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