With a divorce, in a family where there are children, often a change of roles occurs. In a conjugal family, there are specific, clear roles (i.e. mom, dad and child), but then after a divorce, the roles change, so that everybody could get confused. For instance, if dad starts living separately from everyone, mom may put him in the position of not the father, but the older brother – like: “Go, take a walk, look after the baby.” Then there’s the “weekend dad” who may entertain the child, but in the eyes of the mother, does not bear almost any responsibility for the kid; and that’s bad.
According to OnlineDivorce statistics, more often, such a change of roles is initiated by the women, who still are more often awarded primary custody than their ex-spouses. So, unfortunately, women often consciously provide unnecessarily tough conditions regarding father’s communication with children. They usually give their former husbands a child only for a particular time (an hour or two, only once or twice a week), and only for entertainment. Men are still quite often denied the right to continually take care of the children, to seriously engage in their education, or their moral and cultural development.
There are several reasons for this.
First, severe restrictions for communication between father and child sometimes act as a variant of the influence, even manipulation. That is, in some cases, such humiliation of the ex-husband, who is obliged to comply with some certain rules, satisfies the wife’s thirst for revenge.
But at the same time, the removal of the former spouse from close contact with the child may also be due to a far more reasonable cause. In cases where one of the parents is an abuser or addicted to alcohol, drugs, et cetera, it is clear that the other parent with whom the child remains loses confidence in such a person, and tries to protect the son or daughter.
However, in such cases, even the court claims that contact with this parent can be harmful and is not in the best interest of the child. These are cases when sole custody (both physical and legal) can be awarded.
In other situations, regardless of the personal issues of the former spouses, it is considered that communication with both parents is essential for the child, which means parents must learn to negotiate and cooperate even after the marriage is dissolved.
Parental Alliance: How to Minimize the Effects of Divorce on Children
Divorce is a sad phenomenon. When love, or that the husband and wife considered love, leaves, then for the spouses and their children, there comes a challenging time, where not even a wedding ring can keep them together. Not a single child can be happy when his father and mother stop loving each other and break up. This must be realized always when you are on the verge of a divorce, and that you may want to consider to stop it.
But if the spouses have already split up, then it is essential to avoid the confusing concepts in thoughts, words and deeds. Getting divorced, the two people cease to be husband and wife for each other, but it must not be forgotten that for a child, they remain to be mom and dad. They remain to be parents forever.
Realizing this fact, not being spouses, the parents continue to be partners in matters of raising the child. And no matter who has physical custody of the child, the father and mother are equally responsible for the kid’s future.
Very often, parents are well aware that it is necessary for a child to communicate with both dad and mom. But they do not understand such an important thing for the healthy, full-fledged personal development of the child, it is equally important that the parents communicate with each other about the child. That is what can be called parental alliance.
Responsible divorced spouses with children, when building new relationships after breaking up, do not think about themselves, about their own ambitions, benefits, feelings, but about the welfare of their children.
According to GoodTherapy, such a breakdown of the relationship between parents, when they refuse to cooperate and to create a joint parental strategy, is extremely harmful to the child’s mental health. The consequences may be reflected in his behavior, in the violation of mental functions, such as attention, memory, perception and communication skills.
Tips For Good Communication
Realize, understand, remember: “I am in charge of the psyche and happy life of my child.” The way your child’s relationship with the other parent develops is also your will and responsibility. If your ex is not interested enough to maintain a healthy relationship and communication with the child, then you can also inspire and form this communication and relationship yourself. As for non-custodial fathers, not all dads know and understand how to behave with a child and ex-wife right after a divorce. The ex-husband himself may be shocked and do not know what to do.
So, whether there is an amicable relationship between you and your ex right now or not, you can learn step by step how to make things right for the sake of your child.
Here are a few tips of good communication which should help you.
1. Leave behind all your grudge against your ex, the words left unsaid, and self-absorption.
All communication with the former spouse after the divorce is only about your child, and nothing more. You can’t stop resenting your spouse? Go to a psychologist with this problem, just as you would go to the dentist with a toothache.
2. Decide how you see the future relationship of the child and another parent.
The child needs to feel that mom and dad do not blame him for divorce. Also, do not say bad things against your ex in front of the kid. Unfortunately, this is the most frequent parents’ mistake, but a child in no case should think that he must take sides.
3. Think of what is the purpose of your communication with the former spouse and stick to it clearly, acting within the borders.
For example, “I communicate with my ex-spouse because…
- I want the child to know that he still has a father (mother) who loves him and has not disappeared, but has only changed his/her geographical position.
- I want the ex and child to communicate at any time, and for this, we need to coordinate the schedule and trust each other.
- I want the child’s dad (mom) to be well-informed about the kid’s life…” and so on.
4. Your ex should make sure that your communication is safe for him/her, and that your messages do not have a dirty trick in the form of a desire to control his/her life.
If the spouse does not call, start chatting via messenger about how the kid is. The short text may just be like: “The son is fine, he sends you regards. Call him later” is quite enough. Leave behind the rantings, do not blame, do not ask questions about how he is, or how can he even sleep, if he doesn’t even know what’s going on with the child, et cetera.
The purpose of these messages is “the child should know that the dad/mom is aware of his life,” and not a demonstration of your offense or an attempt to manipulate. You create a connection between the child and his parent, and that’s it.
Your ex should get used to the fact that the news about the child is exactly the news about the child; that the dialogue will not end with reproach or claim.
5. Make a well-detailed parenting plan and follow it.
Do not rush while preparing a parenting agreement in a divorce. Parenting plan is a necessary arrangement which may significantly ease your future life. Even if you prefer a DIY divorce or online divorce option, do not spare money for divorce mediator who can help to make a really working and mutually beneficial parenting agreement. In addition to custody issues and establishing of the visitation schedule, this arrangement may cover any subject you wish. Rather strict but a real method to avoid a lot of disputes and misunderstandings in the future.