How parental conflict affects kids during divorce

Parental conflict does more to harm your children than the actual divorce, according to Psychology Today. Ironic, isn’t it? Conflict is typically the reason couples file for divorce. In fact, the legal grounds for no-fault divorce in many states even state this fact. The grounds of “irreconcilable differences” and “irretrievable breakdown of the marriage” are two examples.

The article “Marriages Come and Go, but High-Conflict Divorce Is Forever” explains that children’s problems begin prior to divorce. Close to 50% of the problems children experience with behavior and academics occurred in marriages four to 12 years before their parents’ separation. Several large studies about parental conflict conducted in 1991 revealed these facts.

When children observe their parents’ frustration and rage, they tend to model their emotions after their parents. It is a source of behavioral problems.

The Best Answer Is to Dissolve Parental Conflict and Nurture Your Children

Sometimes spouses are not compatible with each other. In which case, divorce may be the best answer. Whatever you can do to reduce the frequency or intensity of parental conflict is in your children’s best interests.

Things You Can Do to Reduce Conflict During and After Divorce

  • Reduce custodial exchanges as much as possible. Couples often get into conflicts during custody exchanges. This frequently happens if they meet half way and one of the parents is late. Also, the worst part is your children are there to experience the conflict firsthand. Avoid meeting half way, if possible.
  • Let your children spend uninterrupted time with the other parent. You can use a third party application instead of long discussions. Our Family Wizard is an example of one. It is mobile responsive and provides a secure way to document and share information and can help keep conflict away from your children.
  • Don’t put your children in the middle. Spying on your ex through your children can adversely affect them. Children dread being grilled with questions about the other parent’s new boyfriend or girlfriend. Asking your children to relay messages is also not a good idea. Don’t use your child to deliver a support payment or to spy on the other parent.
  • Avoid airing opinions and conflicts on social media. Keep comments, photos and other information about new relationships or the other parent off of social media. You should un-follow your ex and respect your ex’s privacy. You can ask your friends to not post about your family. Also ask them to refrain from passive-aggressive activity.

Do You Have Questions About Divorce?

Richardson Brown focuses our practice on family law and divorce and we are glad to answer your questions and protect your interests.