If you are going through a contentious divorce then don’t feel bad, you are the rule not the exception. When emotions are high the arguing, yelling, bitterness, backbiting, and spite increase beyond what one often normally assumes he or she is capable of. Even when you’re trying your best to be cordial, things can get ugly in a hurry. It is divorce, after all.
However, with children, contentious divorce can mean longer-lasting consequences than just you and your ex’s grudges. Children look to you as a role model and internalize how you deal with others.
You’ll want to make your absolute best effort not to let your children get caught in the crossfire. The divorce itself and the new living arrangements will be enough new things for them. Maintain as much semblance of normalcy as possible and model positive interactions so that they, in turn, treat others with respect.
Tips to Protect Your Children from an Ugly Divorce
No child will come out of a divorce entirely unscathed, but with conscious parenting and lots of love, any damaging effects can be greatly minimized. Here are a few tips that can help shield your kids from the brunt of the ugliness.
- Avoid saying anything negative about your ex in front of the kids. She or he might be your current nemesis, but they are still their hero.
- When you and your ex have to meet, try to schedule it without the kids present. Children do not need to see conflict or hear legal discussions.
- When you are exchanging children at visitation, do so in a public place and quickly make the trade. In front of the children is not where you want to discuss important divorce matters or make disparaging remarks.
- Answer questions your children may have about the divorce in a factual, age-appropriate manner, but omit the unpleasant, adult details. Rather than focusing on blame, steer the conversation toward the love that both you and your ex have for the kids. Let them know that although you and your ex may be getting a divorce, kids and parents never stop loving each other.
- Get counseling for both yourself and the children. The counselor may be able to give you insight into how your kids are managing their emotions and share new ways to help your kids cope, like this therapist, Bill Eddy. Divorce counseling and support groups can be exceptionally helpful in helping one work through negative emotions and learn coping mechanisms.
Need Legal Counsel for a Contentious Divorce? Call Molly B. Kenny.
Attorney Molly B. Kenny handles all types of divorce cases in Washington State, including contentious divorces, custody issues, child support, and alimony. Call the Bellevue office today at 425-460-0550 to schedule a consultation.