Ongoing friction and conflict between divorcing and/or separating parents is very common when going through divorce.
Unfortunately what is common too, is the reaction or behaviour of some parents who choose to use their children to get to the other parent probably due to the murderous rage they carry towards their ex.
If you’re the parent at the receiving end, it’s vital to realise and accept that you can only influence your own parenting style.
You can only change and manage what it going on in your own home.
This may mean that you are the one left to pick up the pieces when your children are put in situations that are not conducive to their wellbeing and this can be a tough arduous and at times very long journey to embark on.
To continue being the parent who provides a sense of security by maintaining proper boundaries and limits no matter what, may mean that each time you’re with your child, each time they come to stay with you, you have to almost start all over again, because you have to undo the adverse and detrimental words they have heard said about you in the other home.
During this time, you need to be aiming to reduce children’s exposure to any ongoing acrimony or conflict and avoid taking in the stress that is associated with the divorce and separation into your own parenting lives too much otherwise it will affect how consistent how, how available, how positive you are likely to be with your children.
Of course all this is far, far easier said than done, but it is definitely not impossible.
I would suggest totally focusing on positively parenting your children and not rising up to what is coming from the outside in.
Avoid scoring points against the other parent or speaking disparagingly about them, as that not only rarely ever works but may actually drive a wedge between your child and you.
Sounds regimental, but do document positive things that you do with your children by taking photos of fun times, writing things down etc.
Might sound obvious or silly right now, but I have worked with parents whose children hold almost no positive memories of their times together because they have all been “erased” by the other parent.
Look after yourself by reaching out to people who can help and support you during this difficult time. Acknowledge your anxieties and worries and deal with them appropriately, including being ready to see a therapist or counsellor, so that you do not have those negative and powerful emotions trickle or pour into your parenting ways.
If one parent isn’t putting the children first, then all the more reason why they will need you to do that for the children. To look after them by being consistent, available and have those boundaries and limits well in place.
If you’re struggling with this aspect of your divorce and/or separation, then do speak with me. There are ways to work around this using various techniques including Triple P – Positive Parenting Program.
0785-085 60 66
If you know anyone who is going through divorce or separation and is concerned their children, please do share this with them.
Soila is a Child Development Psychologist, accredited Triple P (Positive Parenting Program) parenting practitioner, Certified Trauma Specialist and trained Family Mediator. She works in private practice mainly, but not exclusively, with families going through divorce and separation.
Soila is a member of Resolution and a graduate member of the British Psychological Society.