Allan Schwartz, LCSW, Ph.D. was in private practice for more than thirty years. He is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the states ...Read More
This is something that too many divorced parents fail to understand as a result of their feelings of anger towards the ex spouse.
4. Avoid the "third degree" when the child returns from a visit with their father or mother.
"I tell parents to treat their child’s weekend away with their ex-spouse as if the child has just visited an aunt or uncle," advises Neuman. "Saying nothing will leave your child stressed, as if he must compartmentalize both worlds and tiptoe around this other experience. On the other hand, grilling the child puts him squarely in the middle, which is an impossible position emotionally. So ask your kid fun and general questions, which diffuses tension. And then let it go." Here too, parents have a tendency for pump their children for information about how they were treated in a search for information about possible abuse. A lot of this has more to do with vengeance than anything else.
5. Repair the damage you’ve already done.
Many divorced parents reading these tips may recognize mistakes they’ve unintentionally made with their own kids. Is it ever too late to undo emotional fall-out from a nasty split? "No, children are remarkably forgiving, says Neuman. "At least until they reach their later teen years, when anger may be more cemented. If you’ve made mistakes, it’s important to do the following:
Apologize to them because "saying you’re sorry" goes a long way with your kids. Explain in detail exactly what you did wrong, and then commit to changing your behavior from that moment on."
No two divorce situations are identical and many divorced people experience frustrated and angry feelings of hurt and betrayal. It is common for people to demonize their former spouse and attempt to propagandize the children into their way of thinking. However, this is a short sighted way of thinking that does not take into consideration the emotional well being of the child and future adult.
It is always wise, when over ridden with these frustrated and vengeful feelings to enter psychotherapy and learn healthier ways to cope than manipulating the children.
Your comments are encouraged.
Allan N. Schwartz, PhD