Nobody usually plans on becoming a single parent. Many of us dream of that white-picket-fence family, but there are things that just do not turn out the way we expect, and choices have to be made according to the situation. But whether single parenthood is a matter of circumstnace or a personal choice, the welfare of the children should always be the priority; Mom and Dad may part ways, but it does not mean they cannot raise their kids together.
Bunny Ty, a teacher and school counselor at The SchoolRoom, Inc., observed that separated parents who continue to be angry with each other can spur anxiety and anger in their children—towards one or both parents and even themselves. Prevailing conflicts between parents can make children feel that they have to choose sides or they might lose either or both parents. Ty also added that kids have the tendency to blame themselves for their parents’ separation.
Working As A Team Cara Galang-Fernandez, a developmental psychologist and a psychology professor at the Ateneo de Manila University, suggests that separated parents should have a common understanding about what they want for their children and should have concrete plans on how to keep the stability of the their children’s lives in terms of education, finances, household rules, discipline, visitation schedules, and holidays.
It’s best if you and your ex spouse can settle the following issues as early as possible, so you can both transition more smoothly into your new roles as estranged but peacefull co-parents. Emotions might still be volatile at this point, so have your discussion at a neutral location so that if tempers fly and arguments arise, they won’t be witnessed by your kids.
However, don’t leave out your kids in decisions that concern them, either. They are the most serious casualty in any separation and must have a say in the major adjustments they’ll soon undergo—being shuttled between two homes, splitting holidays and special occasions, etc. Consult about these things with your children after your and your ex spouse’s discussion, preferrably together—a united front sends the message that although Mom and Dad no longer live together, they’re still a team.
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