It is the start of a new year which could also mean a new start for people especially, children whose parents may be divorcing. The divorce rates are at an all-time high and no matter how hard we try to make it as easy as possible for the kids, they wind up hurt and sometimes very hurt.

 We think we are doing the right things, but in reality we might actually be making it worse. Recently, a group of kids in the 10-12 year-old group were asked to create a set of rules that they wish their parents would follow.  The rules they came up with make so much sense it's almost embarrassing that we as parents, can't seem to pull our heads out long enough to pay attention to what our kids are telling us.

Below is a list of the top ten rules most commonly wished for:

  1. Don't say bad things about the other parent - Keep in mind that the kids love both parents and even though we may feel the need to tell our kids what kind of person the other parent really is, they don't care. Because they say hearing bad things about the other only hurts their heart and they don't want to hear it.
  2. Keep us out of adult stuff - Most of the explanations we may offer the kids go beyond their years of comprehension and they simply won't understand. Sometimes the best explanation for a particular issue is none at all.
  3. Don't make me feel bad for loving the other parent - This ties in with #1 on this list. Asking the child why they want to be with the person who broke up the family is not only counterproductive, but may actually damage to the child beyond repair.
  4. Learn to get along for big events - I have been divorced twice and have kids from both marriages and this is very important. We are the adults and supposed to be the mature ones. The kids want to see both parents supporting them. Differences need to be set aside for the sake of the child, you don't have to sit together, but you should both be there. I make it a priority to be there.
  5. Don't make me choose sides - we even need to go here? This could be the most damaging of all to a child.
  6. No fighting in front of us - Seeing and hearing mom and dad fight is never good. It is going to happen, but it cannot happen in front of the kids.
  7. Don't make me a messenger or put me in the middle - Even sending the simplest messages through the kids can create a tremendous amount of stress for them. It can't be their responsibility to make sure we communicate, bottom line.
  8. Don't share or take your anger out on me - This should be another no-brainer, but when you are angry at your ex for something, it's hard not to show it, but we have to find a way to not direct that anger at the children.
  9. Don't ask me to spy - If you ask the kids questions about their visit with the ex, they will answer you because they want to be the obedient child, but they will hesitate and will feel like they are tattling on the other parent and nothing good will come from this.
  10. Give me one-on-one time with both parents - Having equal time with the kids is probably going to be difficult at best and in most cases not even possible because of custodial arrangements. Make the best of the time you do have with them and they will love you for  that more than you know.

[Huffington Post]