Posted March 18, 2012 by Crystal Powers in Marriage

Being Friends After A Divorce – A Must For The Sake Of Your Kids

If you have kids, you and your ex are going to have to interact regularly no matter how acrimonious your divorce was. The best way to help your children cope is maintaining a friendly demeanor around your ex since your children are not responsible for the problems you had in your marriage.

After the divorce, have a discussion with your ex about the terms of your future relationship. You are going to see each other regularly if you are sharing custody and any bad feelings or negativity will be picked up by kids and amplify them. You and your ex should be able to discuss parental issues without descending into a shouting match so you should be civil to each other and respect each other’s place in your kids’ lives. You both need to act in the interest of your kids’ future and leave the past behind no matter what caused the divorce.

You may be hurt or angry, but remember that your issues with your ex are not your kids’ issues. To them, you are just mom and dad, and they should not be involved in any residual conflict or bitterness. Never bad-mouth your ex in front of the kids because this will confuse them. Your kids love you so don’t use that love to prejudice them in any way.

In terms of behavior and discipline, try to establish some ground rules together just as you would if you were married. Security is something children need, and helping them cope better with the divorce is a unified front even from parents in separate homes. One parent would often spoil the children because they see of them and so they want to make up for those two days every two weeks. Ask yourself if you would let your kids do this if you were still married because this is actually the rule of thumb. You shouldn’t be doing it now if you wouldn’t.

Your children will greatly benefit if you and your ex can rationally discuss parenting issues and have a normal conversation. After they’ve gone through a fair amount of conflict between the two of you, you may have told them because of the divorce, all of that will go away. Continuing to argue and shout at each other after the divorce not only makes your children think you lied to them, it confuses them. Why bother getting a divorce if it changes nothing?

A difficult issue is that of new relationships but at some stage each parent will find a new partner. You need to discuss this issue together in order to avoid hurting your children. Things to be discussed include when the new partner will be introduced to the kids, how they will be addressed, and any other issues that may arise. Helping you and your children ease into the transition without too much trauma is getting these things sorted out.

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Crystal Powers