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Custody conflicts don't need to involve your child

Your children are not the deliverers of your news to your ex. They are not the go-betweens when you and your ex can't get along. As divorced parents, it's up to you to focus on what's best for your children, and that is not to use them as your messengers.

It is stressful to go through a divorce, but it is equally distressing for a child. Using your child as a messenger puts a heavy burden on him or her. Even if you and your ex don't want to talk to each other, you owe it to your child to do so. That way, he or she does not have to fall into the center of conflict.

You and your ex-spouse don't need to talk to each other about your lives, but you do need to be able to talk about your child and his or her needs. Instead of telling your child what to tell his or her father or mother, just tell the other parent. For instance, "tell your dad that you need a new shirt for school," can easily be a conversation that comes up when you drop off your child. All you need to do is say, "Our son or daughter needs to have a new shirt for class, would you mind picking that up?"

If you're worried that talking could result in a fight, consider seeking out mediation. Even though you're not married, it can help you communicate better and learn to be civil with one another. If it is a persistent problem, you may want to consider turning to the court for help.

Source: Mission Viejo Patch, "Children Are Not Mailboxes: Divorced Parents Must Communicate With Each Other," Susan C. Schena, June 27, 2017

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