3 Mistakes Made by Parents Who Are Separated

Many families end up with parents who are separated. In these cases, it's essential to be aware of common mistakes in order to avoid them.
3 Mistakes Made by Parents Who Are Separated
María José Roldán

Written and verified by the psychopedagogue María José Roldán.

Last update: 13 January, 2023

When there are parents who are separated in a family, the emotional impact isn’t only on the parents, but also on the children. It’s possible that adults, due to the emotional burden, aren’t aware that they can make mistakes that may harm their children. Keep in mind that children are fragile and sensitive beings who are affected by any word, action, or misunderstanding between their parents.

Children shouldn’t be treated or spoken to as if they were adults because they’re not! Parents, regardless of the problems they have between them, must look after the welfare of their children, first and foremost.

Although it’s quite common for adults to make certain mistakes unconsciously, we must know that the main victims are their children. For all these reasons, we’re going to tell you what the most frequent mistakes that are made by parents who are separated are so that they don’t happen again.

A daughter clinging to her father as her mother sits in the background with an annoyed look on her face.
When parents are separated, speaking ill of the ex-partner, questioning the decisions of the other parent, or telling certain things to the child without taking their age into account can do a great deal of harm to the child.

Parents who are separated and the most common mistakes they make

According to statistics, the US divorce rate is the third highest in the world, and many of these individuals have young children. Therefore, thousands of families suffer the consequences of separation every year.

As the Spanish Association of Pediatrics makes clear, parents must look after the welfare of their children before anything else. Children deserve physical and emotional stability and for their environment not to be affected by the decisions made by their parents. They need to feel secure when everything around them is in flux.

With this in mind, we’re going to discuss some of the most common mistakes made by parents who are separated so that, if you’re in this situation, you can stop making them.

1. Talking without taking into account their emotional immaturity

When you talk to your children without taking into account their emotional immaturity, it can seriously affect them. Of course, communication is fundamental within any family, and even more so in the context of a separation. In these cases, many emotions will be on the surface and you’ll need to take into account this normal alteration of behavior.

Children must be allowed to speak and express everything they feel. But whenever you explain or tell them something, the response you provide should be in accordance with their age and ability to understand.

2. Speaking ill of the other parent or their family

Sometimes this can be done unintentionally or without malice, but there are certain words or phrases that should never be said to a child. Even if it’s subtle, children know how to read between the lines. For a child, both their father and mother are the most important people in the world. Therefore, hearing someone else talk badly about one of them hurts them a lot. This situation can lead to a conflict of loyalties.

The same goes for the other parent’s family. You shouldn’t criticize or make fun of them, as they’re part of your child’s life and deserve enormous respect from you. These people, as well as your own family, are just as important to your child.

A mother talking to her teenage daughter.
Never take emotional outbursts on your children. Otherwise, it can change behavior toward the other parent and create emotional insecurity and uncertainty for the child.

3. Thinking that we do things better than the other parent

Never think that your way of doing things is the best or that your ex-partner always does things wrong. There’s no perfect way of proceeding. Everyone does things the way they think is best, even if they can be improved. Therefore, you should always respect the effort of the other parent in parenting

The priority is the welfare of your children

These are some of the most important mistakes, but there are also others that should also be taken into account. For example, children should be prevented from being messengers or spies. Also, it’s a common mistake to try to win them over or fill emotional voids with material objects. Keep in mind that it’s very important to seek a balance in the relationship with your ex-partner and always think of the welfare of your children above all else.

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  • Bonnell, K., Little, K. (2019) Padres Separados: Cómo Criar a Los Hijos En La Separación Y El Divorcio. Editorial: OCEANO

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