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Avoiding common parenting mistakes after divorce

If you are a divorced mom or dad struggling to co-parent successfully with an ex, avoiding the following parenting fails can make life a lot easier:

-- Allowing the kids to decide where they will live. Certainly it's important to take their input and preferences into account. However, it puts enormous pressure on a child to make such a major decision that is likely to disappoint one of their parents.

-- Arguing with your ex over kids' belongings like toys and clothing. It's frustrating to get the kids back and find out that their school shoes a Gameboy or a brand new outfit got left behind at their other parent's home. However, arguing about possessions foments other disagreements. If you can't afford to keep a wardrobe for your child in both homes, initiate an agreement that what the children wear to visitation is the (washed) outfit they don for the return trip.

-- Lacking a predictable custody arrangement. Kids thrive on routines and crumble in chaos. Even couples whose work schedules preclude having the same set of arrangements from week to week can give a sense of order to their kids' lives by giving them calendars with the days with mom and dad highlighted as soon as its determined.

-- Verbally trashing their other parent. Little pitchers have big ears, and even when you think they aren't listening, it's likely they are. Remain positive or silent, but say nothing bad about your ex when the kids are present.

-- Having the kids run interference for you with their other parent. Children aren't your personal messengers, and using them as such stresses them out. If you absolutely cannot talk with your ex, text or send emails when communication is necessary.

By working closely with your family law attorney, you can help avoid these pitfalls by devising a custody agreement that works for all involved.

Source: Huffington Post, "Survive Parenting After Divorce: Don't Make These 5 Common Mistakes!," Natasha Daniels, Dec. 15, 2015

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