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Encouraging your kids' affection for their other parent is key

It sounds like a simple concept that divorced parents shouldn't make their children feel guilty about expressing love and respect for their other parent or wanting to talk about the good times they have together. However, too many people do just that without even realizing it.

It's easy to let your anger and hurt when it comes to your ex-spouse make it difficult to hear your child express affection for him or her. However, children need to be able to feel good about both parents. That's why you should never express negative feelings about your ex in front of your child, nor should you encourage your child to express them -- no matter how much you agree and want to chime in.

When children have had an enjoyable weekend or outing with a parent, it's normal for them to want to talk about it and share how much fun they had. If they think that by doing that, they're going to make their other parent sad or angry, they'll shut down. That's not healthy for your child or for your relationship with him or her. Even if you don't openly express your feelings, kids can sense them.

It's easy to feel like you're vying with your ex for your children's affection. However, it's not a competition. Your kids need both of you. Don't try to "get back" at your ex via your children. Remember that the primary responsibility for both of you now is raising happy, healthy, well-adjusted children.

Many divorcing parents choose divorce mediation rather than a litigated divorce to minimize the negative impact on their kids. However, if you and your ex are having custody or visitation issues that you feel aren't in the best interests of your kids, your Florida family law attorney can help you work to seek adjustments to your agreement.

Source: Huffington Post, "Let Children of Divorce Love Their Other Parent Without Guilt," Rosalind Sedacca, May 16, 2016

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