Children and Divorce – Treating the Non-custodial Parent with Respect
Divorce is a painful process, now put children in the mix and you have more heartache. The custodial parent needs to treat the non-custodial parent as a person. This person is still sharing their lives with their children. Excommunicating them or putting favoritism on the children that do not visit the other parent is in short, wrong.
Your children have had their lives turned upside down. Why would a parent further the distress by making the other parent not available? You have to be an adult. You made an adult decision to not be married and/or with this other person, this does not mean that your children have joined you or rejoice in your choice.
The non-custodial parent should be treated with the same respect that is given in the household the child lives in. The child needs to know that both parents are still there and available for them when needed. Emotionally, the child will need both parents now, more than ever. They need to know that just because they are not in the same household, that this parent still loves and cares for them.
Too often child support or outside relationships come into play. This only furthers the confusion on who and where the children fit in. A divorce is not about the children. It is about two adults that are not compatible with one another. Denying the children of their parent is devastating. You made the choice not to live with this person, they did not.
Keeping open communications and general respect for another’s person is important for a child(ren) to recover from the feelings of abandonment. Sometimes as the custodial parent you need to encourage communication between the children and the ex-spouse. Encouraging them to call after a good day at school. Perhaps calling about a test grade. The children should not be made to feel “bad” if they want to contact their parent. You as the custodial parent, also need to keep the other party up to date on events concerning the children.
It is your job as a parent to keep open communications and encourage good relations. In time, if these situations do not work out, you know you have not encouraged estrangement of the other party. Divorce and separation are never easy. You just have to look at it through a children’s eyes. Your life has turned upside down, one parent isn’t there every day anymore. That doesn’t mean that you, as a parent, have to be the person who makes it so devastating to take the other parent away completely.