One of the benefits of raising your children on your own is having the opportunity to build a really close relationship with them. Whether you're the custodial parent or not, when your kids are with you, you're the one who comforts them when they're sad, who helps them feel better when they're sick, and is there to absorb their chatter at that moment when they feel like talking.
At the same time, though, this closeness can make it hard to distinguish between relating to your kids as their parent and relating to them as a peer. Just as they want to run and tell you when something exciting happens in their day, you naturally want to share the ups and downs of your life with them.
For example, let's say that you're thinking of possibly relocating in the next year or two. Nothing is finalized, and in the end, it may or may not happen. That would be something you'd want to keep to yourself, because telling the kids before your plans even begin to take shape would only cause them unnecessary anxiety.
Or, let's say that you'd like to rearrange your shared custody arrangement so that the kids are with you on the weekends. That's great, but discuss your idea with your ex first, before you begin talking to the kids about it. Too often, co-parenting relationships are strained because of ideas that are presented through the kids or because the adults don't take the time to communicate with one another first.
While it can be tough to figure out when to share your heart and when to bite your tongue, the "mistakes" you make along the way can serve as beneficial learning experiences. So don't beat yourself up about the times when you felt you "got it wrong." Instead, reflect on those experiences and allow them to shape what you do differently next time.
More on Parent-Child and Parent-to-Parent Communication:
- How to Tell Your Children About Your Divorce
- How to Tell Your Children About Moving
- Stop Arguing With Your Ex
- 10 Ways to Rebuild Trust With Your Ex
- Printable Parenting Plan Worksheets
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