Although, there is much discourse in psychology crowds regarding exactly what intensity long-term divorces have on children, there is certainly no question that it creates huge changes in their lives, especially during the stage of actual separation. California family law courts make the best interests of the child THE priority in all cases.
We understand that divorce can be an emotionally taxing time that may distract and cause you to fall short on your normally attentive and great parenting skills. Just remember that your children, whether adolescent or teenagers, are still developing their identity, confidence, and emotional skills. Protecting and ensuring their healthy processing of the divorce should be at the top of your priorities.
There’s no debate about the reality that parents are the most important people in a child’s life, or that a contentious divorce is extremely harder on children who are exposed to the parent conflict compared to those who are not. Thus, it is imperative to not bring your kids into your spousal divorce arguments and conflicts.
Do not squabble with your divorcing spouse in front of the kids. If possible, make an agreement with your divorcing spouse to discuss contentious items in private. If an agreement is not possible and an argument is inevitable around the children, try walking to a different room or substantial space away from the child(ren.) Someone has to be the skillful and considerate one. Reflect on the 10 Ground Rules of Divorce to reduce any potential conflict triggering scenarios and encourage your spouse review them as well.
Do not say bad things about your spouse, to, or in front of them. You may have strong opinions about your spouse and he/she may be trying to incite you to anger but is very important to keep your cool. Saying negative things about your spouse put an unnecessary mental burden on your child that makes them feel they have a responsibility in your conflict. In addition, Spontaneous Trait Transference studies have shown that whatever traits you describe in others, people will transfer to you, whether positive or negative. By talking negative about your spouse (or anyone for that matter) you may very well conditioning your child(ren) to associate such negative traits and senses of uncomfortability with yourself.
Do not put pressure on your kids to be dishonest or take sides in the divorce. Not only is it selfish and wrong, judges will see right through this and will work against you in all aspects of the divorce judgment. Emotionally, financially, and otherwise.
No matter how upset you might get, keep the children out of it and do the best you can to make sure your divorcing spouse does the same. During a divorce self-care is not just for you, equally important, it’s for your children as well.
Remember. Children come first in divorce.