How your kids will cope with a divorce largely depends on how you conduct yourself before, during and after the dissolution process. The better you and your spouse are at ensuring that whatever conflicts you have with each other don’t spill over into the relationships you have with your children, the less likely it is that your kids will suffer any negative long-term emotional effects from the divorce.
Here are some behaviors that you and your spouse need to stay away from whenever one or both of you interact with your children:
1. Criticizing the other parent
Kids tend to see themselves as half Mom and half Dad. So whenever you badmouth the other parent, you’re also badmouthing the child. If you can’t say something positive, then don’t say anything at all.
2. Using your children as “spies”
If you need to know something about your spouse, get the information yourself. Asking your child to gather information on a parent puts the child in the middle and makes him or her feel responsible for that parent’s welfare.
3. Arguing in front of your child
Parental conflict continues the cycle of children feeling confused and caught in the middle. Understand that your child is also under stress and conduct yourself in a mature manner around your soon-to-be ex.
4. Ignoring your child’s questions about divorce
When you don’t listen to your kids and answer their questions, it sends a message that their feelings don’t matter. Respond to your children’s questions no matter how painful the subject is for you.
5. Sharing details about divorce proceedings
It’s never a good idea to tell your children about court matters, child support issues or your own financial concerns regarding a divorce. They will end up feeling confused if you share too many unnecessary details with them.
6. Trying to buy your child’s love
Gifts may temporarily impress a child. But remember: it’s your attentiveness and love that he or she will remember the most.
7. Withholding visitation privileges to punish the other parent
Your children need to have regular contact with you both and your ex. By withholding visitation privileges, you also punish your kids and cause them unnecessary emotional pain.
Breaking up is never easy to do. And when children are involved, it becomes especially difficult. The attorneys at the Barrera Law Firm understand the special needs of people seeking to end a marriage who also happen to be parents. When you need sensitive but savvy guidance through the divorce process, contact us!