All children have certain rights, and children of divorced parents need special attention to their rights for them to come through their parents' divorce happy and emotionally healthy. Honoring the following rights of children of divorce will help make that happen.
1. The right to freedom from arguments with your ex-spouse. Arguing in front of the children hurts the children. Your children have to right to not see their parents attack each other, verbally or otherwise.
2. The right to not take sides. Don't make your children pass judgment of their other parent, or take sides. Your children need to love both of you as much as your children need to be loved by both of you.
3. The right to freedom from deceit. Don't ask your children to keep secrets from their other parent. This puts them in the middle, and pressures them to deceive or lie to one parent in order to not betray the other parent.
4. The right to remain silent. Do not use your children to deliver messages to the other parent. No one wants to be the messenger. The messenger gets shot. Don't do this to your child.
5. The right to a childhood. Boundaries are important for the children of divorce. Do not pull your child into discussions of financial issues or adult issues, and do not use your child as your confidant. If you do, you are truly using your child. They don't want to hear you cry on their shoulders. They want to be kids. Go cry to your sister or your friend. Leave your child out of it.
6. The right to a good relationship with both parents. Don't pester your child with constant text messages, phone calls, etc when they are with the other parent. When you do this, you are interrupting whatever the child is doing with the other parent, and interfering with the child's relationship with the other parent. You get your time - leave theirs alone. Don't make the child feel as though he is taffy being pulled between the two of you.
7.The right to calm transitions. Pick ups and drop offs should be looked forward to by the children, not dreaded. If you use these custody exchanges as times to rail on your ex about late child support payments or other complaints, you are subjecting your child to exchanges they will dread. If necessary, avoid contact at exchanges, by having the parent pick the child up from school instead of from the other parent's house.
8. The right to Happiness after divorce. Your child deserves a happy life, both during and after your divorce. This is your divorce, not theirs. You do not have the right to ruin their childhood by trampling on their rights. To do so is selfish and self-centered.
Your child can be very happy, well-adjusted and emotionally healthy, during and after your divorce. Follow these simple guidelines, and you will be well on your way to giving your child one of the greatest gifts of all - a happy childhood.
For more information, read http://www.huffingtonpost.com/julie-a-ross-ma/a-divorced-childs-bill-of_b_1184270.html.