WHAT PARENTS SHOULD OR
SHOULDN'T DO AND SAY
DON'T:              Criticize the other parent in front of the child(ren)
SOLUTION:     *Try to uphold your child's view of the parent in front of the child
         *Discuss your issues with the other parent without the child
             being present
WHY:                Because children gain sense of self from both parents, criticizing
            the other parent could result in your child feeling criticized


PROBLEM:        The other parent criticizes you in front of the child
REMEMBER:     You cannot change the other parent
DO:                      *Discuss your child's feelings about the criticism
           *Let your child express him/herself
DON'T:                 Defend yourself against the criticism


DON'T:              Tell our child(ren) to keep secrets from the other parent  
WHY:                 However the child responds to the request to keep a secret it will
           cause stress for the child: disloyalty by keeping the secret or
           betrayal of trust if the other parent is told the secret


PROBLEM:        Cannot keep the same holiday traditions
DO:                     *Step away from thoughts about a holiday being only one day
              and create new traditions
WHY:                  Allows for optimal holiday experience for child(ren) and parent
           New sense of belonging


DON'T:               Ask your child(ren) to be the messenger
WHY:                 *Incorrect messages sent and/or retrieved
          *Manipulation by the child
          *Mixed messages to the child
          *May result in the child lying to you


PROBLEM:        Other parent uses child(ren) as messengers
DO:                      *Discuss your child's feelings about being a messenger
SOLUTION:        Empower your child to tell parent not use him/her as         
              messengers


DON'T:                Encourage your child(ren) to spy on the other parent
DO:                      Discourage the child(ren) from continuing to spy
WHY:                   *Sends wrong message to the child(ren)
            *Angers the other parent if discovered
            *May deteriorate the relationship between you and the child
SOLUTION:        Validate your child's feeling as the information provided



PROBLEM:         Child(ren) regress into behaviors of earlier age
DO:                      *Get immediate help for you, the child(ren), and other parent, if
              willing to cooperate
REMEMBER:       Other parent may not want to cooperate



DON'T:                Parentify defined as placing the child into the role of the
             other parent or that of a peer
DO:                     Create clear parent-child(ren) boundaries so the role of each
              is clearly defined by routines, decision-making,
              enforcing/setting limits so if the child(ren) takes on more
              responsibility the child will be fine
WHY:                  Makes child take on an unhealthy amount of responsibility
           Exaggerated since of own importance - necessary for parent
           May feel deprived of a carefree childhood
           Co-dependent
           Overly responsible for others
           Rescuers
           Trouble with intimacy
           Have trouble leaving parent when an adult
           Incapable of allowing his/her own feelings to be met


PROBLEM:         Can't stand the other parent
DO:                       Prevent as many meetings/communications as possible
DON'T:                 *Let your child suffer
            *Share clothes, toys, possessions if possible
             *Call the parent during the other parent's visitation time


DON'T:                Discuss problems at visitation exchanges
DO:                      Schedule a time for a discussion at another time
WHY:                   *Child is present for these discussions
           *Involves the child in the problems of the parents
           *Child needs low-key transition from one parent to the other
           *Focus on the child during the exchange


PROBLEM:        Stressed/Cranky child after visitation exchange
DO:                      *Tell the child what is expected to occur during the exchange
            *Allow the child time to adjust from one household to the next
WHY:                   Child needs a low-key transition from one parent to the other



DON'T:                Interfere with the relationship between the other parent and
               your child(ren)
WHY:                   *Takes child longer to adjust to the divorce
            *Creates anger towards you
            *May result in extra loyalty to the other parent
            *Child may rebel and act out towards you


PROBLEM:        Child(ren) don't feel at home in the non-custodial parent's
               home
DO:                     Create own space for child and encourage child to store items
               and personalize the space
WHY:                  Gives the child(ren) a sense of belonging



DON'T:                Make your child choose if your rules/routines are better than
                the other parent's routines/rules
WHY:                  Children already feel disloyal by loving the other parent,
               interfering with the relationship with the other parent


DON'T:                Allow differences in parenting styles to create issues
DO:                      *Keep differences in perspective
            *Empower your child to deal directly with the other parent
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