Even if you couldn't get along as partners, you can find a way to get along as parents by putting your children's needs first.
- Step 1: Communicate the latest news, school updates, and vacations with one another. Limit conflicts and misunderstandings by being cooperative and modeling the maturity you want the children to emulate.
- Step 2: Act cordial when attending functions, celebrations, and events, in the presence of the other parent. This serves to reassure the kids about how important they are to you both.
- Step 3: Work on a united front, setting limits and agreeing about their welfare, school work, social events, and family holidays -- children come first.
- FACT: By 2009, there were 1.7 million single fathers, 15 percent of single parents overall.
- Step 4: Permit the kids full access to the other parent by phone or e-mail, and never monitor their conversations.
- TIP: Children equate love with structure, boundaries, and the honesty shown them. Don't try to buy their love.
- Step 5: Seek to air out your problems with a friend, pastor, coworker, relative, or professional, for your emotional and mental health. Do this rather than confide in the children.
- Step 6: Recognize you are both the center of your children's lives and they need the assurance of a relationship with you more than ever. Speak well of the other parent or not at all -- never mention the other parent's flaws or shortcomings.
- Step 7: Speak directly to the former spouse and never send messages through the children. They don't need the pressure, especially when something could be lost in translation. Don't ask them to keep secrets and don't bribe them for any reason.
- Step 8: Don't let the kids overhear discussions about the divorce, even if you're not arguing. Protect them from court or child support issues, only discussing the contact schedule so they have some predictability.