DR. PHIL: Okay, I wanna get right to the answer here because I wanna give you a checklist, and let me say that this is important whether you are divorced or whether you're not. What we do know is that when children go through divorce all of their needs are exaggerated because they're worried. I mean their base of operations is falling apart. If you're divorced you and your ex need to be consistent.
They need to have the same rules. They have to have the same discipline. They have to have the same schedules in each house. So they can't stay up 'til midnight here and nine o'clock over here. And if it's a good cop, bad cop thing that will backfire on you, I guarantee you.
You need to discuss important issues, medical needs, education, financial issues and you need to handle disagreements with your ex in a way that shows respect and keep talking. Look, don't sweat the little small stuff. If they're 10 minuets late bringing the kids back don't make a big deal out of it. There's a point at which these kids are gonna look back and see whether or not you put their interest above your own. Whether you did what you need to do to help them get through a difficult time. They didn't choose this divorce you did. Don't put them in the middle.