Read these 21 Children’s Rights Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Divorce tips and hundreds of other topics.
When you see your child smile and it reminds you of their other parent, say something positive. For example, tell your child "you are lucky you have dad's beautiful blue eyes", or "mom's winning smile". Telling your child that through them you can see endearing parts of their other parent will go a long way in making your child feel secure. It allows your child to know that they will always be loved, even when they remind you of their other parent. It also tells the child that you still remember the good qualities of their other parent.
Don't put your kids in the middle of your domestic problems. Do not use your kids as message carriers or spies. Communicate with your ex directly or indirectly in writing if necessary, but don't ask your child to relay your message. If it is a negative message, your child bears the brunt of the other person's anger, which only confuses the child who is trying to be loyal to both of you. Children should be taught to love and respect both of their parents, regardless of whether or not one is worthy of it. A child should not be put in the middle of having to choose between two parents. A child should love you both, not just the one most deserving (in our eyes anyway). Assure your child that you both love him/her and that will never change. Keep them out of your domestic squabbles.
Don't badmouth your spouse, or anyone else in your family. Hold children to this rule as well. Children will not love you more if you attempt to make your spouse the bad guy in their eyes. This only makes it difficult for them, and at some point they will more than likely resent you for your attacks. Children need to feel it is okay to love both parents without making anyone unhappy.
If it is possible, the children should be told by both parents about the divorce. They should know who will be remaining in the household with them, and how and when they will be seeing the parent who is moving. Each of the parents should reassure the children that the separation is not due to anything the children have
done, and that both parents will continue to love and provide for them. This is very important.
If you have custody of your teenage child, and they want to leave your custody and go to the other parent or a third party, be open to the change. Often teens wish to get to know the other parent or the fighting between you and your ex has reached a point where they need to get out of the firing line. If there is no danger to your teen, let them go. They will come back as you have left the door open. If you fight them then they will not be able to let you know if life is not what they thought it would be.
Never use your child as a message bearer. Your child will inevitably end up in the middle of the war zone, which is not fair. Children should not be exposed to their parents' immaturity. Try to find an appropriate method of communication that does not put your children in the middle. Leave a message on an answering machine or write a letter and mail it if necessary, but don't rely upon your children to communicate your messages. The message can be forgotten, misunderstood by the child and miscommunicated to the other adult, etc. If it is important, put it in writing. Just don't rely upon your children to deliver it or it may get lost or forgotten.
Sometimes children will express the desire to spend more or less time with you. Allow them to do this if you feel it is what the child truly wishes. If you force a child to come every other weekend, they will begin to resent it. If you are the custodian and they wish to visit on a day that is not written into the agreement and you always refuse, the child will begin to resent it. You want some flexibility in your schedule and they want some in theirs. As a parent you will find that often you must be the one to bend.
If your child begins to act out during or after the divorce, do not assume that it is the other parent's fault. Ask your child why they are unhappy and do it in a manner that does not give them the answer you want to hear. For example, do not say "are you doing badly in school because you do not like to visit dad?" Instead, say "why do you feel you have not been doing well in school, lets see what we can do to improve your school work." This leaves dad or mom out and allows the child to state what he or she really feels. Children wish to please adults and often they will answer what they think you want to hear, not what they are feeling.
Children have a right to visit their non-custodial parent. They also have a right to be kept safe. If you feel that your child is in danger if left alone with their non-custodial parent, petition the court for supervised visitation. Ask that the visits be supervised by a professional so that the visits can be evaluated.
When your child comes home with a gift, or tells you about a gift they received from your ex, do not make negative comments. Resist the impulse to say it is a cheap gift, old gift or a gift to buy affection. Do not feel that you have to compete. Just allow your child to enjoy the gift.
Allow your children to say good things, happy things, or remember good times with both parents. Children should be free to be happy about what has happened with each of their parents. They should not have to monitor their words or emotions in order to spare your feelings.
Often, children wish to show their school work to each of their parents when they get a good grade, or do a special project. Do not tell the children that they cannot bring it to show their non-custodial parent. If the parent is not a particularly responsible parent allow the children to bring it out to show the parent at the end of their visit. If it is something that can be photocopied, make a copy so the child can give it to the non-custodial parent, so it can be displayed in each home. Let your child share their sense of accomplishment.
Be careful about saying unkind things about your child's missing parent. Children need to be taught to respect their parents, even when one of them tends to act like a jerk. In time, your children may see the truth for themselves, but hopefully by that time they have matured enough to realize we cannot control another person's behavior. Teach them to love and respect all people, even when that love is not returned. Don't put your child in a position of having to take sides against the other parent. They should love you both.
Whatever your divorce or separation agreement states that the children are to do for the holidays, encourage them to do it. Do not let on if you are upset that their other parent has them for a holiday, it will ruin their day. They will either refuse to have a good time, or feel guilty for having a good time.
Although seemingly obvious, try to shield your children from any disagreements between you and your ex-spouse. Also, make sure you don't bad mouth the other parent. This type of negative behavior is frequently more damaging to your child than the separation itself.
Do not serve your spouse or cause any unnecessary police action when your children are present. The Court often views these actions as being emotionally abusive to the children and may penalize you through restriction of time spent with the children, or even loss of custody.