Bad Mouthing Parents and Divorce

Michael Riera, PhD Educator and Author, shares advice for divorced parents on why it is so important not to bad mouth about your ex to your kids
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Bad Mouthing Parents and Divorce

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It's important to understand that generally in divorce there are some good things that an come of it and there are some bad thing that can come of it and lots of it like everything else is how you handle it. They learn resiliency. They learn, especially if they're going between two homes, how to handle two sets of rules, because the rules are slightly different. They learn how to negotiate things .they learn how to become a little bit more self-sufficient. If it's not done well, they learn that they're being manipulated by their parents because their parents are using them. So one of the key things for parents is even if you don't like the other person, fake it. And figure out a way that you can make it work. There's this wonderful organization, Kids Turn. And they've got a great website, KidsTurn.org. And it was started by family judges and family mediators where they take families and the kids work together and the parents work together in separate groups learning the language of divorce. So that the kids really understand what it's about and understand that feeling that you're having, that's you. But it's also what kids feel like when they get divorced. Because for kids to be able to say, oh that's from the divorce, then they don't feel so bad about themselves. They don't internalize it. So we want them to understand the landscape of divorce. And then when they get older get ready to answer their questions. And get ready to answer their hard questions, because teenagers ask the best questions. It's going to be, when did you fall out of love with dad? What happened? And it's going to be a Friday night at one o'clock in the morning and they just came home and they're making a peanut butter sandwich. And it's [exhale]. And your answer might be, I don't know. It was really sad. I don't know. I just woke up one day and the magic wasn't there. And we behaved badly for a while and I think we're doing better. Whatever your truth is, your teenagers have an incredible sense for the truth. Whenever you're speaking the truth, they're there with you. It doesn't have to be coherent. It doesn't have to hold together, but it's the truth. If it's a made up story, you won't get their attention. But it's your truth. It's not bad-mouthing your spouse. Because that will never work.

Michael Riera, PhD Educator and Author, shares advice for divorced parents on why it is so important not to bad mouth about your ex to your kids

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Michael Riera, PhD

Head Of School, Brentwood School

Michael Riera, PhD, Educator, Author, Media Personality, and Speaker. Michael Riera is the Head of School at the Brentwood School, best-selling author, award-winning columnist, educator, television commentator, and national speaker on issues of children, adolescents, families, and parenting. Mike is the author of Right From Wrong: instilling a Sense of integrity in Our Children, Field Guide to the American Teenager, Uncommon Sense For Parents With Teenagers, and Surviving High School. His most recent book, Staying Connected To Your Teenager, was launched with three appearances on Oprah! For eight years he was the Family Consultant for CBS The Saturday Morning Early Show and also hosted an award winning television show on the Oxygen Network, Life in Progress, as well as his own daily radio show, Family Talk with Dr. Mike. Mike has worked in schools for over 20 years as a head of school, counselor, dean of students, teacher and consultant. 

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