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How parents can protect their children during divorce

On Behalf of | May 14, 2024 | Family Law

Divorce can be messy, and potentially even downright painful for the spouses involved. Regardless of what causes a divorce, the end of a marriage can have a lasting negative impact on everyone in the family. It can take the spouses years to heal, and the divorce can be one of the most intense traumatic experiences for the children in the family.

Many parents may recognize that ending an unhealthy relationship is ultimately better for their children than exposing them to an unhealthy dynamic indefinitely. They may still worry about how the divorce could affect their children.

How can parents mitigate the negative impact that divorce proceedings often have on children and young adults?

Minimizing conflict levels

Perhaps the most important choice the adults can make during a divorce is to protect their children from divorce-related conflict. Children should not witness arguments between the parents or overhear them fighting on the phone. They also do not need to listen to either parent venting about their frustrations or fears.

Parents need to find healthy and productive ways to communicate with one another to minimize disagreements. They also need to find a healthy way to process their feelings so that they don’t expose their children to unnecessary negativity.

Avoiding child involvement in the divorce

Even if parents maintain a calm facade in front of the children, they may still put them in a situation where they have to choose between the adults. Asking children to testify about their custody preferences can be one of the most stressful elements of a divorce for the children. It is therefore typically preferable for the parents to reach a custody arrangement on their own that does not force the children to state their preferences or play any role in the negotiations whatsoever.

Additionally, parents should not expect their children to act as messengers or as spies. Children should not relate information from one adult to the other or have to answer invasive questions about the conduct of either parent.

Parents who approach co-parenting arrangements with a positive and cooperative attitude instead of an adversarial one can take a lot of the pressure off of their children. Keeping the children at the center of all custody-related matters can help parents reduce how stressful the divorce is for the children. Parents who prioritize their children during divorce can minimize the negative impact the change in their relationship has on their kids.