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Can’t You Just Get Along?

by Lori Sciame January 26th, 2018 | Relationships
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broken heartNo matter who asks for the divorce, the process can devastate both parties involved.  Loss of self-esteem, fear of living alone, and even financial instability can affect both people in a broken marital relationship.  Although the relationship between the couple will never be what it once was, if there are children involved, the couple needs to work towards being able to interact civilly. Children will benefit from divorced parents who continue to communicate effectively vs. those who have hostile interactions.

Children Should be First

If a divorce is fresh, putting the child’s feelings first may be especially difficult; however, it is of the utmost importance.  Instead of using the child as a pawn to get back at the other party, the child should be affected by the change in circumstances as little as possible.  For instance, living in two households, with two sets of rules can be overwhelming for a child, and if one parent uses the change in living conditions to hurt the other parent, the one who suffers the most is the child.  No matter what, consider the children’s feelings first in every interaction.

Avoid Verbal Assaults

Some divorces can be nasty.  Insults and name calling can seem appropriate in the heat of the moment, but a child who hears one parent berating the other can suffer from self-esteem issues – after all, a son is part of the father that mother now calls a “louse,” or maybe a daughter has mom’s eyes that dad says are the “devil’s.”  These examples may be extreme, but verbal assaults need to be avoided for the sake of the children.

Actions Speak Loud Too

Maybe a couple despise each other so much that they can only agree to transfer the children in public places, such as a fast food parking lot.  How sad that a relationship can not be mended enough to make the transition from parent to parent easier on the children involved.  Wouldn’t it be better for the child to transfer suitcases in his or her own driveway rather than near a drive thru window?

In addition, like verbal assaults, obscene gestures should never be used when the children can see them.  So what if your ex-wife’s lawyer took you to the cleaners; your daughter doesn’t have to watch you give her mother the finger every time you see her.  Or a son doesn’t need to go with mom to egg dad’s girlfriend’s car.

Model Behavior

Divorces happen all the time.  It’s how a couple handles the new relationship that will have a tremendous effect on the children.  If both choose to treat each other with respect and decency, the child will learn that although a relationship may end for various reasons, it is still possible to work together.  Basically, model the behavior you want your child to mimic.  Be a hot head, and she may turn out to be one too.

Children of divorce can survive and thrive.  One way to help – maintain parental civility in the new relationship.

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All health and medical information is provided for educational purposes and is not meant to replace the medical advice or treatment of your healthcare professional.