When transitioning from married to divorced it is sometimes necessary to go through periods of waiting. During these times we may become frustrated and struggle with the new relationship that is forming between us and our soon to be ex. Our expert guest blogger reminds us the importance of setting that burden aside while protecting the relationship that each of us has with our children.
Be Civil Around the Kids when Waiting for Your Divorce
When you have a problem with your soon-to-be “wusband,” take it directly to him – and not to or through the children. Don’t exploit a difference of opinion by editorializing about him to the kids. It’s easy to slip – especially when your frustration level is mounting.
Listen to and monitor your comments to the children about their dad. Here are some questions to ask yourself to determine whether you might be guilty of this subtle form of parental alienation:
- Are you hearing yourself say: “Sounds like you picked that up from your dad”
- Do you make a negative retort about your child’s behavior and end it with “just like your father?”
- Do you counter every positive comment your child makes about their dad with, “Yeah, but …” and finish it with a downer?
- Do you throw around biting statements like “If dad really loved you …”
- Do you try to frighten or intimidate your kids during a disagreement by saying “If you don’t like it here, soon you can go live with your dad?
It’s easy to fall into these behavior patterns – and they can effectively manipulate your children’s behavior – for the short-term. But in the long run you will be slowly eroding your personal relationship with the children you love and alienating their affection. This will bite you back in the years to come, especially as your children move into and through their teens.
Minding your tongue around your children can be one of the most difficult behaviors to master before and after a divorce. It is also one of the behaviors that will reap the greatest rewards in the well-being of your family. Don’t let anger, bitterness and indiscriminate remarks affect and harm your children.
How are you able to keep bitterness at bay while waiting for your divorce to be final?