Here is a short but surefire list to help keep your child happy following a divorce or separation.

1. Be On the Same Page: Both coParents should be on the same page and consistent with what is permitted and not; scheduling; activities; planning and more. This allows for a smoother life, overall. Be consistent on everything you do, especially on rules. It will decrease stress and not put one parent against the other. You should both stay consistent with the same methods and this also goes for the nanny, babysitter or grandparent.If one parent allows the child to do an activity, then the child will go in that direction and not learn to take responsibility.

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2. Act and Speak Age Appropriately: Try not to speak down to your child. This means to act like adults. Be open and honest with them. Clearly establish and explain things, including activities and rules. They understand more than you know. And they will appreciate you clearly explaining steps in a manner they can understand.

3. Speak Kindly About the Other coParent: your child will hear everything you say, even behind closed doors. To create a healthy coParenting relationship and to bring less stress to your child, let your child see and hear that you care about the other parent. Your child internalizes everything you say about the other parent. If you say that the mother is always late or lazy, the child will automatically think that of themselves.

4. Don’t Hold Back With Love: After divorce, your little one or teenager is full of new emotions. They need to understand that the divorce was not their fault and that there is an abundance of love. Slow down, embrace them, and don’t hold back.

5. Overcome Your Own Problems: Put on your big boy or big girl pants, put your emotionally charged self aside and focus on your child. No matter what happened between you and your ex, they are your child’s coParent now. All your child wants is two parents that love them. They don’t need to see arguing, badmouthing, sneers or put downs. It may be challenging, but in the long run, don’t you want your child to remember good times and not bad?

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About Katrina Miller, MD

Katrina Miller, MD, is the Chief Medical Information Executive at LA Care Health Plan and Family Physician, Director of Medical Informatics at LA Care Health Plan. Miller resides in Los Angeles.