When a relationship stops working, it is often better to part ways. But couples who have one or more children make this decision not only for themselves, but also for their children. 5 things you shouldn’t do for your child’s sake if you split up; it’s better to share these things with a divorce lawyer during the separation process.
1. Gossip about the ex-partner in front of your child
It is human to face great emotional pain such as disappointment, sadness and anger with vengeance. In order to endure what the breakup does to you, you start to make your ex-partner bad, to poke at him and thus to get some relief during the grueling separation time and afterwards. This behavior can be called “Broken Heart Syndrome”.
But if children are affected by the separation, the following applies: stop! Your child is not the right recipient for your pain, because it has to struggle with the situation itself and needs all the more support. It is important to convey to your child that they are not alone, even if mom or dad has moved out.
No matter how deep the pain of separation or how great the anger is about the ex-partner – don’t let that get out of your child. Since a separation or divorce of the parents affects the child a lot anyway, it is important to keep adult problems away from your child as much as possible. This includes resentment towards the ex-partner, because for the child, despite the separation, it remains the beloved father (or mother).
If parents make the other parent bad in front of the child, in extreme cases they deprive the child of access to the second parent. Regardless of who or whether someone is to blame for the separation, the child has a right to a relationship with the separated parent; it must not be forced to live the parents’ grudges. Children want to be proud of both parents. When you blaspheme about dad (or mom), children experience a devaluation of their own person.
2. Use the child as a messenger
After a breakup, not wanting to speak to your ex-partner again is an understandable wish. The disappointments are often too big, the emotional wounds too fresh. But using your son or daughter as a messenger in the event of a separation with a child is no alternative to talking to your former partner. “Ask papa if he’ll give you something for the school trip. He can also pay something!” Sentences like this one, which may even have a reproachful or angry connotation, do not belong here but should be clarified directly between the parents. The child is neither a messenger nor a judge. If it is nevertheless misused for this role, the parents often unknowingly dump ballast onto their child’s shoulders, which they themselves have to carry.
Having one or more children keeps you connected even after a divorce. Children together entail a shared responsibility that is greater than the individual’s pain. It is important to communicate in spite of your own situation and to learn to bridge differences.
3. Argue in front of the child
As far as communication is concerned, it also says here: Keep the problems between you and your ex-partner to yourself. The child will still notice that the mood is not good, even small children have highly sensitive antennas for the atmosphere in the room. It is best not to have conversations that are potentially controversial in the presence of the child. Because if the parents quarrel, this additionally fuels the fear of loss of the child, who is already insecure due to the separation.
If there is a factual, friendly conversation in front of the child, you should pass the phone on: “Mom is on the phone, would you like to talk to her?” This conveys a feeling of togetherness instead of working against one another. Knowing this is very important for a child in order not to get into a conflict of loyalty between mom and dad.
4. Start a competition for the love of the child with the ex-partner
“With dad everything is always great and I’m always the bad one because you have to study with me.” Anyone who has agreed a weekend arrangement with their partner will know this problem only too well. It is understandable that you want to make up for the lack of time together with the children with extra great excursions, visits to restaurants, television evenings or the most generous Christmas. But do not forget that the time together counts for the child, because the knowledge to have a dad – despite the separation – is the most important thing. Therefore, a little everyday life does not spoil the precious weekend – on the contrary: Especially in everyday life, the parent who moves out of the shared apartment and only sees the child at certain visiting times is particularly missed. Rituals like the bedtime story fall away overnight. It is all the more important to experience both parents as a reliable part of everyday life despite separation, by doing homework together or going shopping together.
It’s not about giving the kid the awesome program because that’s not what children of divorce crave. A child needs the certainty that it has not lost either parent and, above all, that it is allowed to love both.
5. Pull the child to your side
Unfortunately, children often become a plaything between parents who no longer understand each other. The supposedly only common denominator is the child. However, this does not justify that conflicts are carried out on the child’s back, but that conflicts are resolved precisely because of this common denominator – by the parents. If the parents demonize each other, the child inevitably comes between the fronts and has to decide: Am I for team mom or for team dad?
Children tend to side with the parent who suffers more. According to child logic, the child compensates for the lack of love in the other through his loyalty to this parent – which of course is not true.
Keep in mind that you and your partner broke up, not the child. Your child needs and loves both parents and you should grant your child this right despite your own differences.