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Encourage your children's positive relationship with their other parent, and do everything possible to facilitate your children's time with the other parent. Have the children ready to go at the appointed time, or better yet, offer to drive them to the other parent’s home.  Let them take their clothes and personal belongings (including gifts you have given to your children) to the other home; respect their privacy regarding telephone conversations with the other parent. Do not let your negative feelings towards your former spouse interfere with the children's relationship with their other parent.

Be flexible. When the other parent is a few minutes late picking up or returning the children, or a day late with the child support payment, be patient and ignore this minor violation of your agreement. If this becomes a chronic problem, discuss it privately with the other parent, but do not share your frustration with your children.  If the other parent would like to do something special with the children when they would normally be with you, be accommodating. These times with the other parent are special for your children, too; being flexible with the other parent shows that your love for your children outweighs your anger with the other parent. And as the children get older, they will often prefer to do something with their friends when they are "scheduled" to be with you. This is not meant to be a personal affront--the children are becoming independent adults, so support their needs and interests. By being flexible, you will be setting a great example for your children.

Your children need your presence more than your presents.
Jesse Jackson

Encourage your children to express their feelings.  Encourage your children to talk to you about their feelings, especially regarding the divorce. Also, there are many excellent divorce support groups for children, and family therapists can offer the children a safe place to express feelings that they may not be able to share directly with you or their other parent. Knowing that other children are experiencing similar challenges can be very comforting to your children.

Take care of yourself both physically and emotionally. If you are unhappy, unhealthy, or stressed, you cannot provide your children with the patience, support, and understanding that are critical to their well-being. Happy and healthy adults promote happiness and health in their children.




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