How to Lessen the Impact of Divorce on Your Children

Even though most divorcing parents agonize over how they have affected their children, their heated arguments and emotional roller coaster still rule the roost.

A number of studies show that it is not the divorce itself that has the greatest negative impact on children. It is also not fear or dread of a changing lifestyle. What depresses and shakes children to the core is the threat of conflict and actual dispute between parents. In fact, some studies show that when family fights are particularly intense, many children experience relief when the quarreling parents have separated or divorced.

The Best Interests of the Children

Parents need to put their aggression aside in order to serve the best interests of their children. As a couple tries to resolve their disagreements over custody issues, emotions may flare up. Discussing custody should not result in a battle over who gets the children, with children watching on, while parents engage in emotional warfare.

Belittling your spouse, blaming him or her for a failed marriage, and other similar negative behavior badly affects your children. In many instances, fights are the source of marriage breakdown and irreconcilable differences do exist. Perhaps opposite opinions on child rearing are an aspect of deep-seated conflict. However, during marriage, while getting divorced, and even after you have dissolved your marriage, you need to stop criticizing your spouse in front of your children or making remarks to your children that vilify your spouse.

Parental Alienation

The legal term for excessive parental, negative behavior regarding the other spouse is called “parental alienation” because it alienates or estranges children from the other parent. Whether the negative behavior is consciously or unconsciously carried out, or whether it is continuous or sporadic, it is damaging for the child psychologically, and not only affects him or her during childhood, but may also do so later as an adult. Of course, there are degrees of parental alienation, which range from mild and moderate to extreme.

Examples of behavior that could be considered parental alienation include:

  • Intentional denigration of the child’s relationship with the other parent
  • Generating fear of the other parent based on falsehoods
  • Brainwashing
  • Falsely destroying the other parent’s character (character assassination)
  • Uncontrollable anger directed at the other parent
  • Creating alliances with the children aimed at destroying the relationship with the other parent

Family disputes and alienation put children in an uncomfortable position for many reasons:

  • Children may feel forced to choose sides—ally themselves with one parent.
  • Children may experience fear and insecurity.
  • Children become confused and unstable.
  • Children experience a loss of love and respect for their parents.
  • Children may lose the alienated parent forever.

Solutions for Parents and Children

A number of solutions are available to minimize the conflict between parents, which in turn reduces the negative effect on children. Marriage counseling can sometimes help a couple take responsibility for their relationship along with the relationship they share with their children. Even when marriage counseling fails to repair the marriage, it may at least put couples in better communication with each other so they are able to be friendly or on civil terms. Mediation and collaborative law are two types of settlement procedures used during divorce that help reduce tension between marital partners and promote improved communication and amicable solutions. In any alternative dispute resolution (ADR) method, the process aims to benefit the whole family and make the children’s best interests a priority. These techniques have proven to be effective in addressing child custody matters.

Related website: http://www.thewrightlawyers.com

The Wright Firm provides skilled representation to family law clients throughout the Lewisville, Texas, region, including the cities of Dallas, Plano, Frisco, Arlington, Richardson, Flower Mound, Carrollton, Corinth, Allen, McKinney, Garland, and Dallas County, Denton County, Collin County, Rockwall County, and Tarrant County.

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