Many spouses behave in a dysfunctional manner toward one another during their separation and divorce, often placing their children in the middle of their matrimonial dispute. What many separating couples do not realize is the psychological damage of their children that results from these kinds of behaviours. When a child’s parents divorce, they become more vulnerable to developing behavioural, social, emotional, and academic problems.
Here are 5 tips to prevent damaging your children through dysfunctional divorce.
First, the foremost protective factor is to minimize parental conflict, especially in front of your children.
Children who are openly exposed to parental conflict during the divorce process usually suffer from a poorer psychological adjustment to the divorce. Parental conflict also presents a dysfunctional role model. Children learn that the proper way to solve their disputes is through fighting, which will affect their relationships with other people in the future.
Second, you must provide emotional support to your children.
Divorcing parents must provide warmth and emotional support to their children. Consistent communication with the child about the changing family dynamic will help that child feel more secure. Children and adolescents who receive emotional support from their parents have a more positive transition to the divorce than children who do not receive adequate attention from their divorcing parents. Parents must also prevent children from thinking in egocentric terms and remind them that the marital breakdown is not the child’s fault.
Third, you must be careful what you say, especially in writing.
It is crucial that you avoid verbal abuse towards your ex at all times. Anything you put in writing may be used against you in court proceedings. Even if your matter is not in court, nasty exchanges only fuel conflict and increase hostility. This makes the issues surrounding your marital breakdown even harder to resolve and causes more psychological and emotional damage to your children.
Fourth, it is important to realize there are no winners, usually.
There is no point in arguing over who misbehaved when, and how, and perhaps with whom. Why spend time making accusations, or answering accusations and then making more yourself? It just runs up the bill. Trying to become the “winner” in a fight over a $3,000.00 rug, while each spouse spends $4,000.00 on lawyer bills, means there is no winner. There are federal and provincial guidelines for most of the financial aspects of a divorce, so arguing over the amount of support payments for children or a spouse is also generally pointless.
Fifth, you must love your child more than you hate your spouse.
Your objective as a divorced parent must be to do as little damage as possible to your children. The biggest obstacles to successful co-parenting are emotions. You should focus your time and energy on being the best parent you can possibly be as opposed to getting back at your ex. Everyone has ego involved; you want your children to know you were not at fault for the divorce and that you are a better parent. You need to let this go and really think about what makes your children happy.
To learn more about Feldstein Family Law Group’s services and client care, visit our website. If you need advice on your own family law matter, please call us at 905-581-7222 to schedule an initial consultation. We’re always happy to assist.
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