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11 Mistakes Made by Divorced Parents

After divorce, whoever has child custody, it is essential to help children adapt to a new life. Divorced parents well know that the child experiences a lot of stress after the parents separate, but in trying to improve the situation and get used to the new reality themselves, they often make some typical mistakes.

Criticism of the former spouse

Criticizing your ex spouse is one of the most common and destructive mistakes. Each divorced parent must realize – divorce is the separation of two people. The third one (your child) is to not stop loving one parent and even more so cannot be called a “traitor” just for their love and attachment to both parents.

Never speak negatively with children about the former partner, mock or emphasize the child’s commonalities with the second parent.

The child usually takes such things personally, even at a young age he or she associates themselves with both parents.

Loving both parents, the child internally cannot agree with the slandering or some unpleasant facts. So, he/she is experiencing emotional contradiction. The authority of adults drops sharply, and the child does not understand who to believe now.

Just remember, the better the relationship between the parents will be, the higher the likelihood that the child will cope with this challenging period faster.

If they make accusations and insults against you, then try to be calm. Do not blame back; do not prove that you are actually better than they say about you. The main thing is that the child understands your unwillingness to take part in this game. Only such behavior will bring a positive result, and over time, it stabilizes your relationship once the heat dies.

Divorced parents fighting for the child’s love

Often, after divorce, one or both parents try “to buy” their child’s love, or, probable forgiveness for the divorce. For example, the non-custodial parent feels guilty and afraid of losing the connection and attachment of the child. The custodial parent fears that now the weekend parent is associated with fun, and he/she, the primary custodian, is in charge of all the hard educational work. Then this parent indulges and spoil son or daughter, trying to save the relations.

This approach helps parents calm down themselves but is disastrous for a child. Seeing the insecurity and instability of the parents, the child can quickly learn how to manipulate this condition.

Besides, the stress from a divorce will pass, emotions will subside, and the child will remain spoiled. It will be hard for him to understand why some prohibitions and rules have appeared again.

The child needs support in a difficult situation, but money and refusal of discipline cannot do what your sincere dedication, honesty, and attention can.

Abrupt changes

This mistake arises from the fact that adults perceive the child solely as a victim of circumstance.

Often, feeling pity for the child, they take unnecessarily care of themselves or treat them self like a sick person.

The same, it can happen the other way round. Parents, passionate about the fixing of their love lives, postpone the upbringing process for later, shifting the responsibility for the child entirely to the grandmothers or nannies. Any of these options makes it difficult to get used to new conditions, creating a feeling of instability. Sometimes this situation can contribute to the emergence of a neurotic disorder in a child. So, continue the chosen line of bringing up, do not change traditions. Children are the notorious conservatives. Repeatability and predictability of events is their islet of security.

Concealment of facts of the bad behavior of the child

After a divorce, parents do not want to admit that it is in their house that the kid disobeys and behaves unbearable. They try to seem sincerely surprised when the former partner complains about the child’s behavior: “Really? And at home everything is fine. It’s strange. Maybe the problem is in you?” Instead of discussing the child’s behavior together, they offend the parental feelings of the former spouse with their cues. But this is just the case when parents need to cooperate and find a solution jointly!

No need to hide from the former spouse the facts of a poor child behavior. And surely, one need not try to enter a conspiracy with the child, like “Come on, let’s not tell dad what really happened?” Better to say that…”. Such arrangements are pure deception. After that, the child cannot resist, so that next time not to deceive you.

Treating a child like a psychologist

Parental control is especially important for teenagers, and divorce turns their world upside down. It is important for parents not to share their anger and other challenging emotions related to the ex-spouse, and not to tell even adult children the details of their private lives and love affairs.


A dramatization of the situation is a common thing during a divorce, which further exacerbates the experiences of children. If one spouse has met a new partner, this adds fuel to the fire, and then the divorce can turn into a real drama.

Parents should remember that children are still more free from social conventions and behavioral constraints. They know how to adapt to the situation much faster than adults. However, it is necessary to create favorable conditions and not injure the psyche of the child by sorting out the relationship again and again.

Participation of sympathizers

Being resentful, a person instinctively seeks the support of others, more precisely, those who are on his side. However, including many people in the situation only enhances the conflict. Each acquaintance or relative usually has his own separate opinion and considers it necessary to take someone’s side. For two warring camps, it’s much harder to negotiate than for two people.

DivorcedMoms claims: “Usually, it especially involves grandparents. They most often criticize a former daughter-in-law or son-in-law, considering them the root of all evil.”

What happens to the child? He/she may feel that he loses not only the familiar image of the family but also close people who are becoming strangers, aggressive. Previously, they spoke about the dad or mom good, ordered to respect and listen to them. But now they scold them – it may be very confusing and traumatic for a child of any age.

The child is pulling the strings on parents

New family members – new partners of the parents may also face difficulties in communicating with a child of divorce. So, they should know how to behave, trying to get used to the role of the stepparent or build relationships with the “weekend child.”

Feeling the vulnerability of adults in this situation, the child can retell other people’s conversations or make impolite comments like: “My mother is prettier,” “Mom makes it better” “Dad gave my mom  flowers much better than these.” Listening to this is unpleasant, but treat these remarks as the words of an offended child who is going through a difficult time. OnlineDivorce claims: “In no case, do not scold him for this and do not try to prove that, and since your dad divorced your mother, she probably was not so good.” ”By this, you only set him against yourself.” For every person, especially the little one, mom is always the most wonderful woman in the world. Trying to contradict this, you will only aggravate a complicated relationship with the child. It is much more productive to confirm: “Each person loves his mother: I love my mom, and you love yours, and for us, they are the most beautiful.”

The content of the conversation will depend on the situation. Sometimes you can pretend that you notice nothing, sometimes a joke is appropriate. Serious dialogue is possible too: “I don’t like that you say so, although I understand why. Let’s decide not to say anything offensive to each other.” Even a five-year-old child can easily understand what we mean.

Laments and complaints about the child’s fate

Sometimes one parent takes little part in the child’s life. Here, it is wrong on a custodial parent’s part to lament about it and complain to others. This behavior of the parent makes the child feel like a burden and feel inferior because of something he himself would not have even guessed to worry about.

Each adult person can be a full-time parent and can raise a happy child on their own. The circumstances may be different, and it can challenge you, but it’s up to you now. As a single parent, you should not think negatively, suggesting that your child is less fortunate than others and voicing these thoughts.

Coercion to shared parenting

This mistake follows from the previous one. If you are a single parent, do not stop the second parent from moving at their own pace. Your former partner should not turn into your servant just because the child has remained with you.

The second parent can take part in the child’s life, whatever is convenient for him (but no less than the court would have ordered). Demand little more; do not blackmail. You need to learn how to be parents without being spouses. Subsequently, if you behave calmly, the former spouse would want to invest generously their time and money, of their own free will.

If you manipulate and press your ex may soon avoid participation at all so that to deprive you of the leverage. He / she may even say that they don’t need a child, just so you stop blaming them for “abandoning their own flesh and blood.”

Two adult people broke up, not a child. Do not ignore yours and your children’s subjectivity.

Ignoring mistakes

There are no perfect parents, and you should not blame yourself for your mistakes and some weaknesses.

Many divorced parents feel that their relationship with the child is not going well. If you want to solve these problems, then you are already on the right track.

Start by acknowledging past mistakes that were made from ignorance or foolishly. Do not be afraid to apologize to your child/children are very forgiving and appreciate honesty more than a simulated “perfection.”

Kimberley Reyes

Kimberley Reyes is an Online Business Manager for entrepreneurs who are ready to get off the hamster wheel and step into their CEO shoes. On top of helping her clients get organized and scale their businesses, she is also happily busy raising her five kids with her firefighter husband.

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