How To Handle Children During A Separation

Children will need to know that both parents love them.  But if parents are acting in foolish ways, the children will feel like they are all alone and unloved.  So do your best to have a reasonable separation always keeping in mind the children's best interests.

Things to remember:
  1. Don’t argue in front of them.
  1. Leave your new mates out of the transition process. For instance, they don’t need to be the one who drops them off, walk up to your ex’s doorstep, or even be seen riding with the new girlfriend or boyfriend in the car every time you pick up or drop the children off. On occasion you may be riding with him or her, but don’t make it a habit. Sometimes children just want that time with dad or mom to themselves.
  1. Answer questions when the children ask. Discuss possible questions they may ask beforehand with the ex so that both of you will be repeating the same story. They may want to know why mommy and daddy are not together a thousand times, answer them a thousand times.
  1. Tell the truth about your feelings toward your ex, once the child becomes an adult and initiates the conversation. Don’t volunteer information.
  1. Make the children’s environment pleasant when they come to visit. Clean and comfortable. New bed sheets, cabinets and drawers they can place their toys in, favorite pictures hanging on the walls, a new toy and plans to go somewhere that is fun. Be sure to have favorite foods and treats in the refrigerator and in cabinets, but not in excess. They still need to eat healthy! Don’t watch adult movies, leave adult magazines lying around, look at adult images on the computer and listen to music around them that you know is inappropriate.
  1. If you and the new girl or boyfriend, do not live together, when the children are around, make the time for your children. If the children will be staying for the whole summer, then fit in time to spend with the girl or boyfriend, but try not to make it daily. Children will get jealous. Don’t include the mate in all the family activities, go some places without her or him.
  1. When children are suddenly misbehaving more, talk with them. Find out how they feel about mom and dad separating, two separate houses, babysitters, new mates and whatever else you may think are causing the changes in behavior.
  1. Don’t talk negatively about your ex to the children or in front of them. Conversations about the ex should occur when the children aren’t around. Be sure they are not hiding somewhere in the house eavesdropping on your conversations.
  1. Avoid drugs and drinking alcohol around your children. They will tell someone about your partying no matter how much you tell them to not speak about it.
  1. Don’t get your children involved in adult matters. If you lost your job, got caught in a scandal, went to jail, broke up with your girl or boyfriend, etc. Be vague when talking to them, it isn’t necessary to give them all the details. Children sometimes will take mom and dad’s pain personally and will react in ways that we don’t quite understand. Remember they are children, not adults allow them to enjoy their childhood. Preserve their innocence.
Although these tips seem simple enough, putting them into practice can be challenging particularly when dealing with an argumentative, hot-tempered or selfish former partner.  Remain in control and envision a future when your children will respect you for doing the best you could to maintain peace during this tough time.

Nicholl McGuire

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Over 20 years office work experience, six years completed college coursework, background in print media and communications, recognized for exceptional attendance and received merit increase for past job performance, self-published author and part-time entrepreneur, Internet marketing and social media experience. Interned for non-profit organization, women's group and community service business. Additional experience: teaching/training others, customer service and sales. Learn more at Nicholl McGuire and Nicholl McGuire Media

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