In our work with children and teens, we have collected a series of important concerns and comments. Please share this with anyone that is co-parenting between two homes. It is a wonderful list of topics to be intentional and careful with that involve the shared children. Collectively, they have a voice that we try to share with parents around the world:
10 Things Kids of Divorce Wish They Could Say to Their Parents
- Don’t say mean things about my other parent. I want and need to love you both!
- When you criticize my other parent, it makes me angry at YOU!
- Don’t make me pick who I want to spend time with—it’s not fair and I will get hurt if you do that. And don’t “keep track” of my time like I’m “on the clock.” It can’t always be 100% fair. Please just love me when we are together and don’t make me feel bad about not spending the same amount of time with each of you.
- Handle your financial conversations in private. I don’t want to hear about it, and I don’t want to be your messenger.
- Don’t use money to win my love. Be a stable and loving parent, and I will love you no matter who has the “most” money.
- Don’t keep me from seeing the other parent; if you do, I’ll grow up to resent you.
- Get a counselor to help you with your problems. I need you to be strong and stable for my well-being. I don’t want to hear about your dating and your disappointments. I don’t want to hear about your problems at work or how much we are struggling financially. Talk to someone else. I need you to be my parent – don’t make me be yours.
- The harder you make it on my other parent, the harder you are making it on me.
- Laugh and smile! I want to enjoy my life and your mood impacts my mood. Find a way to be happy and enjoy your life. I need to have fun and enjoyable memories with you.
- Don’t forget—I have a divided heart now. I live between two completely different houses, rules, traditions, and attitudes. Be patient with me when I forget things or need some time to adjust from house to house. Please buy me enough stuff that I don’t have to live out of a suitcase my whole life. If you want me to feel “at home” in both places, please set up a full home for me, even if I am only there a few days a month. Things like toothbrushes, shoes, clothes, my favorite cereal, and having cool décor in my room—these all help me feel welcomed and at home in both homes. Don’t compete between houses or argue about these things, just help me not have to feel like a visitor when I am with either parent.
Tammy Daughtry, Founder of CoParenting Internatiional. For more free resources please see www.CoParentingInternational.com