Parenting During a DivorceFebruary 21, 2019
Many parents undergoing a divorce worry how their children will be affected. Divorce is usually very difficult for both parents and the rest of the family, but a divorce is between you and your spouse – the children should be kept out of any disputes. Our tip this week comes from the Child Mind Institute, and has important tips on how to protect your kids from any “casualties” of divorce.
1. Don’t fight in front of them
Research shows that the worst thing for kids is to see their parents fight with each other. The kids who don’t do well because of a divorce are those who have been exposed to chronic parental conflict and those who have been alienated from one parent or another. The technical term for what you want to avoid is “expressed affect,” which essentially means yelling and screaming.
2. Don’t make them choose
Your child shouldn’t lose contact with, or access to, either of the parents. Make sure that both during the divorce and permanently afterwards, your child has full access and opportunity to have a healthy relationship with both parents. Similarly, do not make your child choose between parents. If you make the divorce into a “test” of loyalty, children will feel guilty – as if they’re only allowed to love one parent and that they are betraying the other parent.
3. Don’t vent to them
It’s important to insulate children from the fighting that sometimes occurs during a divorce. If you feel that your spouse or the court has acted unjustly, don’t confide in your children. Keep your kids as far away from the legal battle as possible. Accept your own flaws and those of your ex-spouse; try to give your kids as much contact as possible with both of their parents.
4. Keep the kids the top priority
A lot of times in a divorce the parents are focused on what’s fair to them; they feel that their rights have been breached in some way or another. Going through a divorce can be difficult and painful. But the truth is that sometimes what’s fair to a parent is not fair to a kid. What you really want to focus on is what’s good for the children, not what’s fair to you.
For more information and resources from the Child Mind Institute, visit their website here.