Guest Author - Caroline Henrich
If you have children, the fall is often the time period when they resume their activities. This may involve football, soccer, track, cheerleading, music or other types of activities. It is a time when you want to support your child by attending his/her events. It is most certainly also the time that your ex-spouse also wants to attend his/her child's events.
The key issue is not focusing on your former spouse and his/her new spouse or friends. It is not the time to worry about whether he/she is driving a new car. It is the time to focus on your child. You child needs to know that you support him/her in their activities. Divorce can be difficult on children even if they are amicable. Therefore, it is important to always be aware of their accomplishments and their failures in their activities. If you are not focused or engaged, they will know this.
Being supportive or sympathetic and placing all of your attention on your child will help them accept that you love them and they have not been replaced by issues or curiosity over your ex-spouse.
If you former spouse has a new spouse or friend, do not discuss this person with your child after the event. If your child feels that you are more focused on this person than on him/her, there could be negative feelings toward you.
It is understandable that this situation is often difficult. If you are having issues, please contact a professional to discuss your feelings and assist you. It may help to bring a friend or relative with you. You can spend time discussing your child's accomplishment and if you need to vent, you can do so to that person and not your child.
Remember that your ex-spouse is still your child's parent. Therefore resist the urge to condemn your ex-spouse to your child. Telling your child that his/her father or mother has gained a lot of weight may make you feel better but it is doubtful that it will make your child feel positive. Praising your child for his/her effort, success, team spirit or caring is a far more productive exercise and certainly more beneficial to your child.