Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger 07: Divorced in marriage—but not in child-raising.

Even when the marriage is awful, divorce is still difficult. When children are involved, the marriage rarely ends. The relationship between divorced co-parents often replays the same themes and behaviors as in the marriage.

Alec Baldwin’s cruel outburst at his daughter for not calling him is thoroughly out of line. We’ll never really know how the media got the recorded message, but we don’t need to know the facts of this event to learn important guidelines about parenting after divorce.

Here are a few guidelines to consider if you are raising children in some form of cooperation with your ex. Not all these suggestions will apply—especially if your ex is abusive or a deadbeat. You must be the wise judge.

  1. Don’t use the children to relay messages to the other parent.
  2. Don’t bad-mouth your ex.
  3. Try to build some consistency between the two houses.
  4. Don’t use a bad episode, such as the Alec Baldwin yell-fest, to “justify” why your ex should no longer see your child. In general, children still want contact with the other parent—even when the parent is not the best behaved.
  5. Talk to your children about the painful event. Ask them what they would like you to do about it.
  6. Repeat the conversation about the painful event later and see if your children still want the same solution. Children have ways of forgetting and forgiving. This quality is good—and it’s not good. It is confusing to them. You can explain that sometimes there is a difference between bad behavior of a good person and bad behavior of a bad person.
  7. See if you can talk to your ex about the incident. Try to establish mutually agreed upon guidelines. If you can’t talk civilly, consider using a mediator or therapist. Sometimes seeking legal means to solve a family problem make matters worse.
  8. Over time, as your children age, they will require different kinds and number of contacts with the ex. Be flexible. Discuss age-appropriate guidelines. For example, as children enter their teen years, they often don’t want to see parents as often. They might go to summer camp or begin to develop social groups that they can’t sustain easily at the other parent’s location. Get creative. Come up with your own rules for visitations.
  9. Don’t get keep score with how many days your ex gets your child and you don’t. The number of days might vary season to season, year to year. Again, be flexible. If for some reason you need to have the children for two Christmases in a row, then you can “adjust” that issue in some other way. For example, some families celebrate their own Christmases after Christmas. Establish your own rituals and traditions.

Let’s hope that for the sake of their daughter Ireland that Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger can work out a healthy parenting arrangement.

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Author's Bio: 

LeslieBeth Wish is a Psychologist, Clinical Social Worker and author who is nationally recognized for her contributions to women, love, relationships, family, career, workplace, and organizations.

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