For a child of divorce, conflict after one home becomes two can be a reminder of what they have lost. It can weigh on them and cause problems with their mental health, conduct and development.
Depending on their age and maturity, children in these situations may display regressive behavior, such as wetting the bed, needing a pacifier, separation anxiety, throwing tantrums, or physical manifestations of their feelings, such as headaches or stomach pains.
According to New York University, they may blame themselves or any bad conduct that they may display on the divorce, and if the child is older, they may lash out against peers or against you and your co-parent. With this new change in their emotions, they may experiment with drugs or alcohol.
As a divorced parent, you want to do everything that you can to avoid the negative consequences of your divorce. As an active parent, you want to give them the best life possible, despite all of the challenges associated with this difficult time.
This is why you need to contact your family law attorney before the divorce process begins. Your interests need to be represented, and family law attorneys who represent fathers understand the important role that you maintain in your child’s life.
These attorneys will work with you on issues regarding your divorce, child custody situation, child support, and alimony, in order to ensure the best future possible for you and your child.
This means you may have to interact with your co-parent. Despite all of the hurt emotions and history regarding your past relationship, the two of you share a child together, and as much as you may want to cut ties, you need to do what is in the best interests of your child.
That means that both of you may need to employ shared parenting tactics, in order to fully realize the intention of joint custody.
One of these tactics includes communication. As much as you may want to shut out your ex-spouse from what is happening in your child’s life, you may need to communicate with them, just as they may need to communicate with you.
The key for these exchanges is to keep the conversations civil and on topic. You do not want to veer into areas of discussion that do not concern your child, and you do not want to reveal anything that may be used against you in family court.
You should not attempt to pry into their post-divorce life. Even if they reveal information or make comments about it, it is important to remain unphased and focus on the task at hand. As difficult as this may be, it allows you to avoid the emotional annoyance that jealousy or anger entails, and keeps the well-being of your child at the center of your universe.
You also want to maintain a routine with your child. It does not necessarily have to be the same routine that your co-parent employs, but your child needs to understand that your home comes with rules, just like your co-parent’s home.
Even with the chaos of the divorce experience looming, children take comfort the sense of normalcy that a daily routine provides, and for co-parents, it gives you and your ex-spouse a sense of relief.
An unintended consequence of you and your co-parent going your separate ways was the upheaval of your child’s life, and by maintaining the necessary routine and momentarily restoring their comfort, you can breathe a little easier knowing that you cleared one of many hurdles involved in the transition process.
Keep it consistent
Within the context of communication and routine, you may need to utilize consistency in the way that you discipline your child. This means relaying information when bad behavior arises, so that some type of punishment can be maintained in the other household.
This may not work in every situation, especially divorced parents who experience high conflict, but in dynamics where you and your co-parent are able to be civil and set aside your ongoing conflict for the sake of your shared child, it ultimately can prove to be beneficial.
At the end of the day, you have to do everything that you can to give your child the best life possible, and it ultimately is beneficial to your child to employ shared parenting tactics.
Dan Pearce is an Online Editor for Lexicon, focusing on subjects related to the legal services of customers, Cordell & Cordell and Cordell Planning Partners. He has written countless pieces on MensDivorce.com, detailing the plight of men and fathers going through the divorce experience, as well as the issues seniors and their families experience throughout the estate planning journey on ElderCareLaw.com. Mr. Pearce has managed websites and helped create content, such as the Men’s Divorce Newsletter and the YouTube series, “Men’s Divorce Countdown.” He also has been a contributor on both the Men’s Divorce Podcast and ElderTalk with TuckerAllen.
Mr. Pearce assisted in fostering a Cordell Planning Partners practice area specific for Veterans, as they deal with the intricacies of their benefits while planning for the future. He also helped create the Cordell Planning Partners Resource Guide and the Cordell Planning Partners Guide to Alternative Residence Options, specific for seniors with questions regarding their needs and living arrangements.
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