Do (Again and Again)
- Speak at their age level – use their language.
- Ask that they repeat what they understand you to have said.
- Let them know that separation had nothing to do with them.
- Let them know you will continue to be their father / mother.
- Encourage expression of feelings.
- Let them know they will be protected, fed, etc. under all conditions.
- Maintain contact by regular visiting.
- Be their parent; not another child.
- Give them simple, clear, relevant information.
- any implication of blame in explaining why.
- Be their child by setting them up to take care of, rescue or support you emotionally or physically.
- Expect them to understand, accept, like or support separation.
- Say anything negative about (ex-) spouse (an important challenge).
- Allow children to talk negatively about spouse to you (gossip).
- Discuss with them current problems between (ex-) spouse and self.
- Use children to give messages to (ex-) spouse.
- Make your visits (especially with Dad) a party.
- Involve them in fights with your (ex-) spouse.
- Ask child in any way to choose between his/her parents.
CenterPoint Psychotherapy Psychology Associates, 3729 Benson Dr., Raleigh NC 27609
And Psychology Associates, 1611 East Franklin St., Chapel Hill, NC 27514