Divorce has become more common in recent years. However, it is never an easy process, especially for the children. How easily the children adapt to the new circumstances is dependent on the extent of conflict during and after separation. Studies have shown that children who are involved in a high conflict divorce, where both parents are fighting extensively and litigating aggressively in court, suffer more emotional consequences. Another major component is when one child lacks an adequate amount of contact with the non-residential parent.
What can I do to help my children survive this difficult process of divorce? Too often, the parents, undergoing their own emotional stress, naturally have a tendency to retaliate or fight with the other parent. However, there are certain steps the parents can take to facilitate a healthier response by the children to the divorce. It is much better for the children when the two parents solve custody, access and financial problems quickly and efficiently. To the greatest extent possible, the children should be excluded from all parental conflicts. When there is a need to have a contentious phone call or meeting, the children should not be present nor should the conflict be discussed with them. The parents should, if at all possible, attempt to transfer their conflict into an area of cooperation as it relates to the children.
The children must be freed to love and respect both parents. Neither parent should be demeaned or insulted by the other. To the extent the children can maintain close, consistent contact with both parents, they will have a more healthy response to a difficult process. The children should be communicated with and listened to throughout the entire process. They should not be asked to fill adult roles as best friends, confidantes, or co-conspirators. At all times, the parents should focus on the individual and developmental needs of their children.
To achieve these goals, there are certain guidelines for divorcing parents to follow in the best interest of their children. The parents should not pump the children for information about the other parent, or use the children to carry messages back and forth. They should not argue in front of the children or talk negatively to the children about the other parent; the children should respect both parents. The children should never be asked to take sides or be used as pawns to hurt the other parent.
Both parents should tell the children about the divorce together in a mutually agreed and constructive fashion. They should answer the children’s questions honestly and briefly, without providing any unnecessary details. They should make sure the children understand that they are not responsible for the marital problems. The children should be assured that they are well-loved by both and will be taken care of. Both parents should be involved in school and recreational activities and should have a deep and abiding relationship with the children. There should be two established homes for the children with two fully involved parents who are consistent, on time and responsible in satisfying planned activities with the children. In short, the couple should have a “truce” around the children, and create an atmosphere of safety and love for the comfort and security of their children.
That is not an easy recipe for success. The emotions of loss and grief make it difficult for the parents as well. However, based on their mutual with love for their children, they can constructively handle the situation with the children’s best interests at heart. As it relates to the children, if both parents can attempt to place the children first, their response to the process will be much more favorable.
Towson Divorce Lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC Advocate for your Children in a Divorce
Towson Divorce Lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC have the experience and knowledge necessary to represent you in your divorce. Contact us online or call 443-589-0150 for a confidential consultation. Our offices are conveniently located in Hunt Valley, Maryland and we serve Baltimore County, Carroll County, Hartford County and Howard County, including the communities of Towson, Columbia, Bel-Air, Westminster and Essex.