When parents split up, children can sometimes feel as if their entire world has been turned upside down. Divorce that involves a significant amount of contention is often especially hard on children. If you are a parent who is going through a high conflict divorce or you suspect that you soon will be, you are probably worried about how this will affect your kids. Poor performance in school, behavioral issues, low self-esteem, and other psychological consequences have been shown to result from parental conflict. However, there are things that you can do to reduce the negative effects of divorce on your children.
Use Caution When Telling the Children About the Divorce
The moment that your children learn that you and the other parent are divorcing may be one that they remember for the rest of their lives. It is important to plan out what you will say in advance. Most experts suggest that parents tell their children the news together, however, this may not be possible in a high conflict situation. The age of your children will determine the types of conversations that you can have about divorce, however, experts agree that it is best to tell them all at once. This prevents one child from having to keep a secret from the others.
Make sure to keep it fact-oriented and to avoid details about why the marriage is ending. Blaming the other spouse for the divorce or bad-mouthing him or her can make it much harder on the children. It may also lead to allegations of parental alienation. Focus on reassuring your children that they are loved and safe.
Keep Conversations About the Divorce Out of Earshot
Research shows that parental arguments and tension have a profound impact on children. A child’s mental health, future relationships, and overall emotional wellbeing can all be negatively impacted by family conflict. It is important to shield your children from conflict as much as possible during the divorce. Keep conversations with the other parent or your lawyer private. Do not fight in front of the children and never ask them to choose sides.
Create a Detailed Parenting Plan
During the divorce, you and the other parent will be expected to create a parenting plan. If you cannot reach an agreement, the court will determine a plan for you. The more detailed your plan is, the less room there is for disagreements in the future. An attorney experienced in high conflict divorce can help you negotiate a parenting plan and represent you during your child custody dispute....