Our Kids: Choices During Divorce

Cheyenne, Wyo. (KGWN) The following tips are courtesy Dick Berry of Youth Alternatives.

Many parents choose to divorce. While that is clearly a significant decision, it is not the end of important decisions that need to be made. I want to talk about three other choices that are significant decisions for the children involved. I’m not talking about situations in which a parent is physically abusive and damaging to a child.

1. The Choice to exclude or include the other parent in parental decisions and activities.

a. He’s not a good Mom. She’s not a good Dad.
b. Moms and Dads do different things only each can do
c. Children need both mom and dad do to their part
d. You aren’t in the same marital boat, but you are still in the same parental boat.
You need each other, and what you do negatively to the other parent still impacts your boat.

e. Kids want both parents to show up for their basket ball games, concerts, and birthday parties.

f. Choosing to include the other parent in parenting decisions and activities helps your child get the best from both of you.

2. The Choice to focus on the anger toward the other parent, or your love for your children. (Can’t do both.)

a. Focusing on the anger poisons parents, and places the children in the middle, pushing them to pick a side. They don’t want to pick sides. They want to love you both. This is extremely destructive for your children.

b. Let the anger go, forgive the other parent - not because they necessarily deserve it, but because your children deserve it.

c. Choosing to focus on your love for your children gives you a solid positive base from which to make decisions, and directs you to focus on your
children’s needs, not your own. That is good for kids.

3. The Choice to live in the past or move thoughtfully into the future. (but not

a. Focusing on the past perpetuates anger and hurt for the parent and prevents positive parental decisions. It robs you of energy, and creates angry parents. By remaining in the past you give away your influence on the future. You can’t change the past.

b. Talk a lot with your kids about what you want/how you want family to be

i. Lets’ listen to each other

ii. Let’s be positive and encouraging

c. Choosing to move thoughtfully into the future frees up your energy to
work toward what you want.

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