Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Simple rules for divorced moms help ease anxiety of divorce

Divorced moms often find themselves navigating difficult waters following divorce. When children are involved, the waters become even murkier, especially when communicating with an ex-spouse is stressful, or when there is a new partner involved. Divorced moms can make the transition easier on themselves and their children by following simple rules when communicating with an ex-husband.

Divorced moms should communicate with ex-spouse briefly and specifically 
Divorced mothers need to communicate with an ex-husband, but how much is too much, and what is it okay to discuss? These are difficult questions, especially if there is a remarriage or hurt feelings. An ex-husband is the father of your children, and after a divorce that is the extent of the relationship. House repair questions or even calling to chat about your day is no longer okay. Divorced moms should make it a rule to communicate only about the kids. One phone call a day to an ex-husband is considered excessive. Unless there is an emergency, divorced moms can make communication with an ex-spouse even easier by e-mailing or texting.

Divorced moms can set tone for positive relationship when co-parenting
Divorced moms who are co-parenting children with an ex-spouse can follow some simple rules to make the experience less stressful for everyone involved. Never speak negatively about an ex-husband is an important rule for moms to remember. Negative talk is confusing for children, and traps them in the middle of marital issues. Sending messages between children and an ex-husband is never okay. Going through divorce and living with visitation between two houses is a huge change for children. Mom and Dad should not involve kids in adult arguments and discussions. Children are suspicious of any questioning from parents about an ex-spouse, and though it is okay to ask if they had a good time, the question should be brief, met with a smile, and then mom should move on to another topic. Divorced moms need to remember that their children want to know it is okay to have fun with Dad, too.

New partners mean more people to love
Divorced moms, at some point, may have to deal with the reality of an ex-husband’s new partner. Children of divorce do not want to feel as if they have to choose sides, and Mom can ease that transition by remembering that an ex-spouse’s new partner will also be caring for her children when they are at Dad’s house. Speaking negatively about step-mom will only confuse children and interfere with building healthy relationships. Most importantly, divorced mothers should be open to finding a new partner for themselves who meets not only their needs, but is also willing to get to know, love and care for step kids. 

Follow new schedules and honor special events
Divorced moms often contend with new schedules, especially around the holidays. Mothers who sabotage family get-togethers by bringing children well fed to Thanksgiving dinner or arriving late at Dad’s house for an important, scheduled event, are not hurting the ex-spouse or step-mom, but are hurting the children. A well-planned visitation schedule that respects both parents is the best course of action for avoiding conflict. Divorced moms should call ex-husbands right away when an emergency arises that interferes with visitation plans.
Divorced moms can help ease the pain and confusion of divorce by following simple rules with an ex-spouse. Communication with ex-husbands should be brief and specific. Negative talk about Dad is confusing to children, and divorced mothers should never ask children to relay messages to an ex-spouse, or grill their children about activities during visitation. New partners mean more people to love, and negative talk about step-moms only harms relationships. Moms should seek partners who are willing and able to love and accept step kids. Sticking to an agreed upon visitation schedule will help Mom and Dad avoid conflict. Divorced Moms who focus on their children will find these rules easy to follow, and ease the stress of divorce.

If you need help with your blended or stepfamily, The Blended and Step Family Resource Center is ready to assist you with its counseling and coaching services, as well as other resources aimed at promoting strong and successful blended and stepfamilies. Get in touch with a licensed professional counselor today and let us help to provide you with answers and hope.

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