12 Commandments for Divorced Parents

  1. Never make visitation arrangements directly with children.
  2. Never suggest visitation arrangements you have not previously discussed with the other parent. Always confirm with the other parent any visitation arrangements made with children.
  3. Send and return children who are clean, well-rested and fed. Do not send or return a sack or suitcase full of soiled clothes.
  4. Do not use a telephone answering device to screen calls from other parent or limit telephone access between your children and the other parent-except after your children's ACTUAL bedtime, not the bedtime you would like them to have.
  5. Do not discuss divorce disputes with your children or allow them to hear you discussing your differences regarding them.
  6. Do not send messages or money with your children.
  7. Do not speak ill of the other parent or of his or her relatives, friends or loved ones.
  8. Do not ask your children for information about the other parent's household, friends, income or activities.
  9. Do not believe everything you hear from your children.
  10. Do not second-guess the other parent regarding discipline, rewards or anything else.
  11. Give a sympathetic ear to your children, but affirm and reaffirm as often as necessary that you are not a referee or a mediator between your children and the other parent.
  12. Be courteous. Do not honk your horn for your child to come out. Walk to the other parent's door, but don't go inside unless invited. Have the children ready to go. Always be on time. Smile.

Extracted from The Mediation Newsletter with permission from Dick Eberle of Eberle Mediation Services.