Your children are worried. Maybe they’re stressed because you and your ex-spouse are fighting, competing with each other, or forcing them to take sides. It is very common for children with divorced parents to suffer an array of adverse psychological and emotional reactions when their parents disagree about parenting issues and openly confront one another.
The question is: can you do better? And if so: how?
Stress can have hidden health consequences, psychologically and emotionally. Unfortunately, children can have a more difficult time than adults when it comes to moderating stress. In the moment, a stressed child may have decreased appetite, trouble sleeping, and physical pain with no apparent cause. When a child’s stress level is too high, he or she may be more likely to experience mental illnesses, such as chronic anxiety and depression that can extend into adulthood.
Protecting your child from the stress of your separation may seem like a tall order, especially given everything else on your plate. Fortunately, these three simple steps can start to make things easier:
1.Be polite. It may be annoying and even infuriating to talk with your ex-spouse, particularly if you’re going through a difficult divorce. When having conversations with your ex in front of your children, strive to be civil, regardless of the other’s actions. If your ex insists on arguing, insist on having the conversation at another time when he or she can discuss things calmly. Or at least leave the space where the children are present.
2. Don’t create secrets or abide in “behind the back” communication. Be a straight shooter. Asking your child to keep a secret from his or her other parent can put an extreme amount of stress on him or her. If you need somebody to confide in, talk to a friend, another family member, or a therapist.
3. Minimize packing. Children usually find it stressful to travel back and forth between two homes. Lessen that stress by keeping some items at both houses. Items like toothbrushes, blankets, and pajamas can be easy to forget when you’re switching houses, but they’re always needed. Create extra accommodations to remove this logistical constraint.
Co-parenting can be a headache-inducing affair if you’re not prepared; but if you put some thought and care into your actions and behavior, you can strengthen your relationships with your children and even ease tension with the other parent.
If you need assistance with your case, contact our experienced Fairfax divorce attorneys today at (888) 530-4374 to schedule a consultation. We can provide compassionate, strategic help throughout the process and give you back peace of mind and the strength to rebound from your crisis.