Respect Your Child’s Relationship with the Other Parent

Respecting the other parent

Deesha Philyaw and Michael D Thomas
Authors of Co-Parenting 101

“Regardless of what happened in your marriage or since the breakup, your child has a right to have a relationship with both parents if both are fit and willing, without micromanagement or interference from the other parent.  Divorce brings a lot of change and uncertainty for children, but having a relationship with both parents is one thing they should be able to count on, enjoy and not feel conflicted about.

Try to be a gateway, not a gatekeeper.  When the other parent and your child communicate by phone or e-mail, refrain from monitoring, discouraging contact or cutting their time short.  Also, be flexible with the parenting time schedule when possible, and let your child know that you’re happy that she’s happy when she spends time with the other parent.  Instead of negative comments, silence, or eye-rolling (some parenting plans specifically forbid this!) when your child tells you about her time with the other parent or expresses a desire to see the other parent, be positive and interested.  If need be, gently ask questions (without prying) to convey to your child that it’s okay to share with you her experiences with the other parent and that you know how special this relationship is to her.  This will go a long way to letting her know that she’s fee to love both parents openly.

Encourage Your Child to Respect the Other Parent

The best way to encourage your child to respect the other parent is to demonstrate that respect yourself.  Respect does not equal agreement; you may disagree with your ex’s parenting style, her religious beliefs and practices, whom she dates, and other choices, but short of any harm coming to your child, but short of any harm coming to your child, you can still show respect for or at least hold your tongue about them.

Remember also to respect the fact that the relationship your ex has with your  child is a parenting relationship.  Unconditionally, your ex is entitled to the same respect from your child that you expect as a parent.  Recognize that during his parenting time, it’s his house, his rules, his way.  It’s normal for kids, especially teens, to chafe at authority and try to push the boundaries of their independence.  But it’s not appropriate for one parent to encourage or support disrespect toward the other parent.  Suggesting to your child that she doesn’t have to listen to Daddy or follow his rules is a recipe for needless confusion, disruption, and drama.”

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This is taken from Deesha Philyaw and Michael D Thomas’s book “Co-Parenting 101: Helping Your Kids Thrive in Two Households After Divorce” Published by New Harbinger Publications

info@co-parenting101.org

412.512.3778

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