There's an old saying that goes, "Everybody complains about the weather, but nobody does anything about it." Here in Florida, heat may be the biggest source of grumbling. The line elicits smiles, of course, because the first part is so true and the second is impossible to achieve. Here in Florida, the
What, you may ask does this have to do with family law in general and parenting in divorce specifically? Well it strikes us that there is a sea of information available online that focuses on the fact that squabbles of divorcing parents often result in the children being used as weapons. Everyone talks about it.
That's an obviously toxic situation and one that should clearly be avoided at all costs. But unless parents are equipped with strategies for avoiding problems, what can be done about it? Maybe that was what inspired the posting we came across recently on The Huffington Post.
It provides all the usual cautions: Don't lose your temper; don't put the children in the middle of a power struggle; don't communicate with your ex through the kids or belittle the other parent in front of them; and work to directly communicate with your co-parent. What seems to make the article different is that it offers particular suggestions on ways to avoid these mistakes. They include:
- Be willing to acknowledge when you're wrong and apologize, even if your ex doesn't follow the same practice.
- Commit to the Golden Rule to the extent you can. Do unto your ex as you would have him or her do unto you. Don't be a doormat, but think flexibility.
- Find a way to communicate with the other parent directly. Need to find an alternative to talking with each other to avoid friction, there are apps for that.
- Discover and employ ways to keep a level head and tight lipped about your ex's bad habits around the children. Talk to a friend. Find a support group. See a therapist. Consider that children identify with mom and dad and may interpret any criticism as directed at them.
- Agree on parenting ground rules that address your hot button issues.
Finding solutions that work for you is bound to be better than leaving things in the hands of the court. Negotiating a plan that meets needs and protects everyone's rights is something to work on with an experienced attorney.