by Marni Feuerman, licensed Psychotherapist and contributor to The Huffington Post
We don’t want to be your messenger.
Going through a divorce is one of the most stressful transitions you can have in your life. It is even more challenging when you have children together. It’s difficult to keep your behavior in check sometimes to do what’s best for them.
You may still have painful feelings and resentments about the breakup. You may have not been able to keep your marriage together, but you still have a chance to foster a healthy and loving ongoing bond with your children. Despite this, many single parents unintentionally hurt their children.
Here are 10 things your kids DO NOT want you to do during or after you divorce:
1. We don’t want to be your messenger.
We get the brunt of the reaction from the other parent and is it usually negative. We are just kids, and we are still maturing. We should not be expected to handle adult conversations.
2. We don’t want you to put our other parent down.
We hate it when you do that. It actually makes you look bad. We also want to defend the parent you are insulting but wouldn’t dare.
3. We don’t want to hear about the money.
We could not care less about your financial arrangements about us. We did not know anything about money when you were married, and we still don’t. We are especially perplexed over the small stuff you argue over. It drives us nuts when you both tell us to go ask the other parent for the money.
4. We don’t want to be your private detective or spy.
We get that you are tempted, but it makes us very uncomfortable. Don’t ask us what is going on in the other parent’s home. If you are curious, we really think you should have just stayed married! It is annoying when you ask such questions.
We also know you will react poorly to what you hear. It also violates the trust you put in us as I am sure you don’t want us disclosing what goes on in your home either.
5. Don’t pit us against the other parent.
We always feel that we have to choose between two disparate worlds. There is a lot of pressure for us to make the right decision about spending time with you both. We can feel guilty because we are not with one of you if we were forced to choose.
6. We don’t want to see you making out with your new boyfriend or girlfriend.
We are grossed out by your new love life. It makes us really uncomfortable to see all the PDA’s and baby talk. Can you please just tone it down when we are around?
7. We don’t want you to not attend our important life events because you “can’t stand to be in the same room” as our other parent.
Remember that our celebrations and life milestones are not about you… they are about us. We always want you both there, and we do not want to hear your negativity or anger during these special times.
8. Don’t ask us to comfort you in your pain and loneliness over the divorce.
We feel sorry when you do, but, it is not our place to comfort you. It is not healthy for us to be your primary source of emotional support. We wish you would find a way to fill the gaps of time when you are alone and not pine for us either.
9. Don’t ever threaten that you will keep us from the other parent (unless we are in grave danger).
This makes us the ultimate pawn and seriously hurts us. It also makes us lose respect for you, which we don’t think was your intention.
10. Don’t refuse to get professional help if you can’t get over the divorce.
You not accepting this circumstance also keeps us stunted. We really do want to see you happy. We would love for you both to be together, but if you aren’t, at least let go of the blame and anger and learn to move forward.