Divorce can have a tremendous impact on children. While you can’t control every emotion they experience, you can take steps to help ensure that the relationship you have with them remains solid.
Consider the following:
Do not overshare. While you may be going through a contentious divorce, do not involve your children any more than you have to. Tell them the truth, but only what they need to know. Be sure that the information is consistent in its content and delivered by both parents.
Do not engage in parental alienation. Parental alienation occurs when one parent purposefully encourages a child to disengage with the other parent and/or denigrate the other parent. It can often be one of the most damaging effects of a difficult, highly contested divorce. (To learn more, please read our previous blog “The Impact of Parental Alienation on Children During A Divorce”.)
Examples of alienating behavior can include:
- Badmouthing the parent
- Limiting contact with that parent
- Using the psychological threat of detachment
- Forcing the child to reject the other parent
- Forcing the child to choose between parents by threatening withdrawal of affection
- Creating the impression that the other parent is dangerous
- Belittling and limiting contact with the extended family of the targeted parent
Give them advance warning. Let kids know before you make big changes (moving them to a new home or a spouse moving out). Letting them have time to adjust reduces the anxiety over things that are in transition.
Allow your children to maintain communication with both parents. You may not want to talk to your ex-spouse, but that doesn’t mean you should limit your kids’ interactions. In addition to in-person visits, let them use modern conveniences such as Skype, Facetime and email to keep them in touch with the parent that they are no longer living with full-time.
Consider using a divorce mediator. Going through mediation allows you to avoid courtroom battles and maintain control over the decisions being made. It also establishes a foundation for continued cooperation between parents and therefore is easier on the kids. It can be used to resolve any communication issue you may be experiencing.
Use age appropriate email or web-based communication. If appropriate, establish a dedicated email address with your children to communicate or use other websites, such as OurFamilyWizard.com.
Children can often be innocent victims in divorce. Be cognizant of that fact and proactively foster a healthy relationship with them. It may take some effort and compromise, but the long-term impact when you stay close with your kids is immeasurable.
Board Certified Marital and Family Law Attorney Charles D. Jamieson understands that divorce is an extremely sensitive and important issue. Thanks to extensive experience and a focus on open communication, Attorney Jamieson adeptly addresses the complex issues surrounding divorce while delivering excellent personal service. To discuss divorce in Florida, please contact The Law Firm of Charles D. Jamieson, P.A.The Law Firm of Charles D. Jamieson, P.A. or call 561-478-0312.