Allowing children to maintain regular access to both sets of grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins can contribute to a child's self-esteem, as well as their sense of security and belonging.
When children return from a visit, either with the other parent or with relatives, refrain from asking competitive questions. It helps them to respect authority in general, and to grow up to be self-respecting.
Keeping these rules will not only help the children, it will help you too. Give your child the gift of not having to choose between their parents.
Asking children to cut off from extended family compounds the loss that divorce creates.
They need the parent who is better at helping with homework as well as the one that makes the best spaghetti and meatballs. Being "unfaithful" to a parent can create tremendous feelings of guilt. Even if your spouse bad-mouths you, don't respond, don't retort. You might feel that if you do not "defend" yourself, your children will think less of you.
Asking your children to choose one parent over another, whether overtly or through subtle messages, can create anxiety and guilt. This can lead to hurt and anger in the child for having being asked to make that difficult choice. Refrain from speaking poorly of your ex to your children. In reality, it is the on-going fighting that will lead to an erosion of respect for you.
Be careful not to send your child the message that all members of your former spouse's gender are bad, particularly not to your children of that gender. Giving your child too much information might be a subtle (or not so subtle) way of asking them to help you.
Rather than going into the details of how little money is in your account, stick to a simple "we need to be smart about how we spend our money now." As the adult, you will need to find the best way to pay your bills.
Even if it means getting a job, taking a loan, or asking someone to help out financially until you can make necessary changes. Remember that all the changes and issues that are troubling you are probably troubling them, too.
If you make them feel that you are unable to handle it, they lose their sense of security.
Children have a hard time separating the words and facial expressions that are spoken to them, and the fact that they were not meant for them, especially if they were meant for someone else who that they love. Rather than interrogating your children about what your ex is up to, focus on what is going on in your house. If you are not sure what they should be under your particular circumstances, seek guidance from a someone who is a competent authority on child-rearing.
If you really want to "get even," let it be by moving on and having a good life in spite of the divorce. Don't be afraid that if you set boundaries your children will prefer to be at your ex's house. Here, we do things differently." If you are comfortable with the rules that you are setting, you increase the chances that your children will be, too.
When you put your energy into punishing or getting back at your former spouse, you are really only punishing yourself and your children. Some children are quite adept at playing one parent against the other. Share your expectations for your children regarding getting up, going to school, homework, chores, curfews, bedtime. The rules for your home may differ from those at your ex's home. Explain that you are interested in what is good for them, and that you are only doing this because you care. On the one hand, you want your children to be responsible and functional.