Children and Divorce

Father comforts a sad child

Over on Huffington Post, they are running a series on how to help children through a divorce. While every situation is unique, there are some common guidelines for every child.

*Never make your child feel guilty for loving their mom or dad. While there may be fault on one side or other, kids center their world around their parents and sabotaging that love can cause anguish. Never ask them who they would rather live with, or who they love more. They love you both, and want to live with you both.

*Don’t put the kids in the middle of negotiations, arguments or arrangements. They shouldn’t be passing messages or mediating, that makes them take on a mature role in the separation, something that needs to be reserved for adults. Ask a friend, send a text or email, write a note, hire a lawyer instead.

*It’s okay to hide things from the kids. They don’t need to know that a parent behaved badly, or who wronged whom. Their world is already devastated, without adding more negative emotions to the mix. If they ask questions, keep the answers age appropriate, and let them dictate how much information they want.

*Get a routine as quickly as possible. A solid schedule that a child can count on is invaluable in rebuilding a sense of safety and security.

*Let your child’s teacher or caregivers know what’s going on. It might not feel right to air your personal laundry but these are your child’s advocates, and can help give encouragement or watch for common warning signs of stress, such as acting out. Stay neutral and don’t give too many personal details, a brief overview of the split and any new visitation schedules is plenty.

For more ideas and tips, check How to Help Your Toddler Through Divorce and How to Help Children Ages 6-12 Through Your Divorce

Google calendar week

Kid schedules are hard enough to follow without factoring in two or more households, child handovers, visitations and multiple calendars. A good option is to start an online calendar that all parties can access. Appointments can be scheduled with notices and reminders going out via email, and entries can even be color coded as to who is picking up or dropping off the kids.

This is also possibly a good solution if there are contact restrictions or conflict between parents, so scheduling can be solidified without direct contact between the parties. Talk to your attorney or the courts before starting a joint calendar if there is a restraining order or order of protection in effect.

Some examples of the many free online calendars are Google Calendar, Teamup Calendar, and LoCalendar.

Facebook app in front of Facebook

Facebook has published a quick video on how to block someone from seeing your posts, comments, and even pictures tagged with you in them. As they state, sometimes you just need some space. Plus, it’s usually always a wise idea when in the midst of litigation to block the opposing party or anyone who might feed them information on your activities.

Babysitter Veto

Mischievous grandmother and granddaughter

Question:
My ex wants a friend to watch our children, a friend that I don’t like. Do I have the right to say no?

Answer:
Generally, each parent has the right to leave their children in the care of whomever they trust while on their visitation time. This may be a friend, babysitter, family member or acquaintance. The other parent does not have the right of veto.