Common Mistakes Divorced Parents Make

The average American marriage lasts seven years, so if you’re contemplating or going through a Michigan divorce, you’re not alone. Compared to the 1960s when only 13% of families entered a subsequent marriage or step family stage, 40% of all families today are part of a stepfamily situation. According to the United States Census Bureau, almost 74 million (or 69%) of all minor children live with two parents. And yet, there’s no current dominant family style across America. Nonetheless, two parents are better than one, right? Well, that depends on how you continue parenting together after the divorce. Here are some of the most common mistakes divorced parents make. 

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Talking Badly About the Other Parent.  Just because you have a volatile relationship with your ex doesn’t mean your kids do or should as well. Kids feel the stress and experience the outcome of the divorce decision, but they don’t divorce their parents. To them, mom’s still mom and dad’s still dad… the living situations have just changed. Talking badly about your ex doesn’t make you the good parent. In fact, it can cause problems down the road as a kid thinks, “Everyone says I’m like my mom/dad, so does that mean I’m worthless, too?” 
Not Choosing Your Battles Wisely.  Parents often get caught up in their own emotions and forget that divorce is stressful for the whole family. And what do kids do naturally, let alone when they’re stressed? They act out. Not all issues are actual battles, and not all battles need to turn into wars. The best way to avoid extra household and family stress is to just let some things go. Obviously, that doesn’t pertain to everything. If the kids are misbehaving at school, sassing authority figures outside the home, or becoming violent, discipline and potentially outside therapy may be needed. Your Michigan divorce lawyer can suggest competent professionals for those situations. 
Making the Kids the Messengers.  Divorcing doesn’t mean you’ll never have to talk to your ex again. Unless you have full custody and/or your ex signs over their parental rights, chances are you’ll still need to deal with them on a regular and ongoing basis. The screaming matches should, however, stop… at least around the kids. Technological options allow parents to text, email, and even send schedules via social media if necessary to avoid talking. At no point should you ever send a note or message with the kids to inform your ex of something you should be mature enough to handle yourself. 
Complaining About Money with the Kids.  Finances and bills are details adults need to handle. While it’s a smart plan to teach your kids about money, doing so after divorce by putting the ex on the hot seat is unfair on both ends. Not only does it make the ex look like a loser (which is probably the end goal), it also makes the kids feel responsible for the situation. Divorce is never the kids’ fault and loving parents go to the ends of the earth to make sure they know this. Take care of your financial issues with your ex and your legal team. And let your kids enjoy their childhood. 

Pretending Your Kids Don’t Know What’s Going On.  Some stats: Approximately 1,300 new American stepfamilies form daily. Half of all U.S. families are re-coupled or remarried. Around 75% of all American divorces eventually remarry. So guess what? Your kids know what’s going on. They likely have friends whose parents have gone through a Michigan divorce, and chances are they vented to their friends about home trouble before you even told them about your divorce plans. 

Kids aren’t stupid and shouldn’t be treated as such. Be honest without offering too much personal information or negative opinions. Make home a safe place to share thoughts and emotions. And keep the lines of communication open. It’ll come in handy in the teen years. If you need extra help or suggestions, be sure to ask your Michigan divorceattorney.

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