by Brette Sember
The beginning of the year is an excellent time to make some changes that will make your life, and your child's life, much more bearable. Consider making some of these New Year's resolutions:
I will remember that parents do not "visit" with their children. Instead, I will remember that children and parents live together, no matter how short a time they have together.
I will try to save negotiations and discussions with the other parent for a time when my child cannot overhear.
I will not ask my child to carry messages to the other parent. Children should not be in the middle of parental disputes.
I will focus on enjoying the time I spend with my child, and not worrying or being upset about the time I don't spend with my child.
I will not make my child feel guilty for having fun with or enjoying the other parent's company.
I will not treat my child as a friend, a shoulder to cry on, or a confidante. I will find emotional support elsewhere.
I will not say derogatory things about the other parent in front of my child.
I will not ask my child if he or she likes me better, has more fun with me, or is happier at my house.
I will not pump my child for information about what happens at the other parent's home or for information about the other parent's life.
I will encourage my child to have a good relationship with the other parent and to spend meaningful time with him or her. I will remember that having a good relationship with both parents is important for my child's development.
I will not use scheduling tactics to try to reduce the other parent’s time with my child.
I will not try to suggest to my child that he or she cut short time with the other parent, miss scheduled time, or tell the other parent he or she doesn't want to be go with that parent.
I will try to be on time for all transfers, as much as possible.
I will try to be flexible with schedule changes and will remember that my child benefits when the other parent and I are able to work out problems on our own.
I will try to always speak to the other parent in a civil, respectful manner and if things get out of hand, I will end the conversation until we have both calmed down.
I will remember that no one is a perfect parent and we are both going to make mistakes.
I will not try to be someone I am not and instead will have a natural relationship with my child that is true to who we both are.
I will not make promises to my child that I cannot keep.
I will remember that my ultimate goal should be to raise, a happy, healthy, and well-adjusted child.
Brette McWhorter Sember is a retired family attorney and mediator and nationally known expert about divorce and parenting after divorce. She is the author of:
- The Divorce Organizer & Planner
- The Complete Divorce Handbook: A Practical Guide
- How to Parent with Your Ex: Working Together for Your Child's Best Interest
- No-Fight Divorce: Spend Less Money, Save Time, and Avoid Conflict Using Mediation.
Learn more about Brette on her web site.
Copyright © Brette McWhorter Sember. Permission to republish granted to Pregnancy.org.