Divorced Parents…..don’t do this….continued

7.  Making kids feel guilty for spending time with their other parent.  If you and your ex have joint custody, then your kids inevitably will be spending time with their other parent on a regular basis as well as during some holidays.  Galamba says that parents need to remember that although they divorced their spouses, their children didn’t.  “Don’t tell the kids how lonely you’ll be when they’re with the other parent or that you’re sorry they have to spend time with him,” she says.  “Instead, tell them to have fun and consider their time away as ‘court-ordered’ relaxation.”

8.  Justifying your bad behavior.  P.J. whose parents divorced when she was a kid, says that her dad’s defense of his affair made the split harder on her and her sister, “I asked him years later if he was sorry for what he did and he defiantly said, ‘No, and I’d do it again,'” she says.  “Where was the father who taught me right from wrong?  He damaged his credibility with me.”  Pescolido says that affairs are strictly parents’ business – knowing the truth can damage your relationship with your children and cause them to have trust issues within their future relationships, she says.

9.  Putting your kids in the middle.  Jessa recalls delivering child support checks from her father to her mother until she was 20 years old, which she says was humiliating.  Kids simply shouldn’t be a go-between, Dr. Orbuch says.  “If their mother or father wants a message relayed to the other parent, or they need to make a decision together, they should talk to each other,” she says.  “And, this should go without saying, but never grill your child for details on the other parent’s life.”

10.  Making everyone feel your unhappiness.  The pain of divorce can last a long time, but don’t transfer it onto your children.  Lindsay’s mother still vocalizes her bitterness about her split.  “It hurts me when she says, ‘The past 30 years have been a waste,'” she admits.  “I feel like I’ve been a hassle.”  Galamba says that no child constantly wants to hear how her parent was wronged.  “The ‘woe is me’ game can be a self-fulfilling prophecy.  Many adult children start showing a preference for the parent who was portrayed as ‘blameworthy.'”