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Divorce and Family Law

Avoid these parenting mistakes after divorce

Co-parenting after divorce may be difficult for parents who argued about many issues when they were married. Even if parents disagree on parenting issues, they can avoid these common mistakes.

Competition

Using child custody as a competition is one of the most common parenting mistakes. Parents should not use their time with their children as a means to show up their former spouse by having the better house, costly trips, or more relaxed rules. Children can use this competition to pit their parents against each other.

Inconsistency

Inconsistency can be very confusing for children, especially since they are living in two different households.  It makes things more difficult for single parents who are juggling custody and work.

Parents, as much as possible, should be consistent with rules on issues such bedtime, schoolwork and driving and punishment. A parent should not overcompensate on leniency if they believe the other parent is too strict.

Similarly, parents should function as a team and should not deceive each other. They must not cover up misbehavior and need to take steps to address it both households.

Victimization

Likewise, parents may become overly lenient because they feel guilty and view their children as a victim of divorce. This can also lead to inconsistent parenting

Correct your children’s behavior but not their emotions. Assure them that is permissible to be upset, discuss their feeling, and seek professional help, if necessary.

But these feelings should not excuse bad behavior. Also, a child’s behavior and well-being may improve after a high-conflict marriage ends.

Giving up

Despite the best intentions or through intentional conduct, the other parent may not be meeting their responsibilities on parenting or discipline. But you still control what happens when the child is with you.

You can serve as a role model and exert a strong influence on your child. Do your best to raise your child during the time you have.

Also, making negative comments about the other parent’s parenting skills and activities when they were with your children is tempting but wrong.  Enforce the rules in your household and speak directly with your former spouse about any problems.

Relaying messages

Children are not in the middle of your dispute. Do not use them to relay messages or instructions on being a parent or vent about your divorce. Communicate with your former spouse directly.

Team of one

Parents must work together and listen to each other’s concerns. For example, refusing to speak to a child therapist because you did not select them is unhelpful.

Lawyers can assist with the drafting of custody and visitation orders that meet the best interests of the child. They may also represent you in court and negotiations.