Children whose parents live apart have these rights:
- The right to a continuing relationship with both parents.
- The right to be treated as important human beings, with unique feelings, ideas, and desires.
- The right to continuing care and guidance from both parents.
- The right to know and appreciate what is good in each parent, without one parent denigrating the other.
- The right to express love, affection, and respect for each parent, without having to hide that love for fear of disapproval.
- The right to know that the parents’ decision to live apart was not the responsibility (or fault) of the children.
- The right not to be a source of argument between the parents.
- The right to honest age-appropriate answers to questions about the changing family relationships.
- The right to regular and consistent contact with both parents.
Parental Guidelines For Co-Parents Who Live Apart
Parents who maintain separate households support their children and their children’s other parent by:
- Providing the children with an emotional environment in which they are free to continue to love and spend time with both parents.
- Encouraging positive feelings in the children about the other parent and extended family.
- Encouraging open, liberal telephone contact.
- Encouraging the children to remember the other parent on special occasions.
- Communicating with the other parent openly, honestly, and regularly to avoid misunderstandings harmful to the children.
- Planning together parent-to-parent, not through the children.
- Presenting a united front on the handling of any problems with the children.
- Refraining from arguing, or denigrating the other parent in the presence of the children.
- Being consistent in maintaining the placement schedule and devoting time to strengthening the parent-child relationship.
- Strictly observing time schedules and calling ahead if unable to adhere to the schedules.
- Refraining from burdening the children with adult worries.
- Treating the children as unique individuals with respect to their feelings and needs.