Setting Boundaries: With Your Children
There is an art to being close but keeping an appropriate distance as the parent.
When parents get divorced all of a sudden they either want to be best friends with their child or their child might want to be best friends with them. Despite feeling uncertain about the new family order, it’s never appropriate to strive for friendship over parent-child dynamics.
I have had clients who set these seemingly mundane details as part of their parenting guidelines when they go through their divorce.In effect, they make it a contractual agreement between them to enforce the same rules in their respective homes.
Agree not to discuss finances with the children, as it’s really troubling for kids to hear about financial travails that may affect the family. It’s ok to teach your children budgeting as a life lesson, but not in the context of “because of the divorce, we can’t afford this anymore.” That assigns blame and will make your child not only feel badly but worry about their own safety and security.
Agree not to talk to your kids about dating. Agree to only introduce someone when it’s The One or at least serious.
For some parents, it’s better to spell it out and make it a contractual agreement than to assume it’s going to happen and reduce conflict.
The same goes for whether to talk with your children about the divorce and what to say. If you can, agree what details to share and which ones remain adult-only.
I understand that every child is different and handles information differently but generally, you want to view your divorce as an adult problem. Your children don’t need to know the ins and outs of your divorce or the reason(s) for divorce.
The role of a parent is to guide your children toward becoming the best people they can be. That means making decisions, setting boundaries, and keeping to yourself anything that might negatively impact them.