If you’re going through a divorce, I’m sure you’re trying to keep your child’s life as constant as possible with his friends, at school, and on teams, and I’m also sure you’re helping him talk about his many hurtful feelings, but are you addressing the issue that will have the greatest impact on his long-term emotional health? I’m talking about his ongoing relationship with your ex.
First, protect the visiting schedule. Both parents must work to coordinate these visits and make them pleasant. Make sure your child feels free to tell you that he had a good time during the visit. Also, encourage him to communicate by telephone.
Second, try to protect your child’s positive feelings about your ex. Don’t subject him to your bad memories.
Third, don’t argue with your ex about visiting, child support, or custody in your child’s presence. If you have disagreements in these areas you need to set up a meeting outside the home.
And finally, don’t ask your child to take sides. Even though you’re unhappy with each other, your child needs to love you both.
During Dr. Schmitt’s 20 years as a medical practitioner and researcher, he has published over 100 articles or chapters on pediatric health care, and has been awarded the distinguished C. Anderson Aldrich Award by the American Academy of Pediatrics for outstanding contributions to the field of child development. Schmitt has also authored five books including Your Child’s Health, which won Child Magazine’s first Hall of Fame Award in 1991. Schmitt is also a professor of Pediatrics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and on staff at The Children’s Hospital in Denver, Colorado.