While some divorces resolve peacefully with little warfare between parents, those are really few and far between. Unfortunately, sometimes in the most heated of battles, we tend to forget that we are the adults here and that all fighting needs to be kept, if not to a minimum, at least from the watchful eyes of the children. With that in mind, what are some of the ways we can keep the kids from entering the foray? Perhaps you could start with these.
1. Don’t Play the Blame Game
How many times have we heard how unhealthy blame is when raising our children, especially when they are fighting among themselves? We even go as far as to tell our children that blaming is never good and to find ways to express what they are feeling without assigning blame. Then, along comes a divorce and isn’t that exactly what we are doing? Simon Law Group explains that settling divorce in NJ can be complicated enough without the courts seeing what your adult behavior is doing to the kids.
2. Never Get the Kids Directly Involved
One of the biggest mistakes many parents make is to get their kids directly involved by asking them to what amounts to spying when going to visit the other, temporarily non-custodial parent. “Who did mommy go out with last night?” or “What is daddy saying about me now?” Also, never pass messages through the children. “Tell your father I didn’t get his check this week.” These things are sometimes not meant for communication at all! Sometimes the subliminal message is that the other parent is failing in their responsibilities, one of which we still equate with loyalty.
3. Reassure Them That the Divorce Will Not Have a Huge Impact on Them
Oddly, one of the things which many people say about seniors is that they are the generation that is afraid of change. They further blame Boomers for being averse to any break from the status quo which, in turn, is stifling innovation. In reality, children are less adaptive than seniors! Children thrive on stability and structure, so as parents, it is our duty to give them that. Involving them in our adult disputes heightens their fear of change and does anything but reassure them that they will be safe going forward. Warfare is never safe, so why subject them to it in a messy divorce?
Kids already take on enough of the blame themselves! It is inevitable that they will think you are fighting because they were naughty or did poorly in school. They may even be thinking that they are the cause of the family’s financial problems if money is a concern. While it is important that you talk to them as openly and honestly as possible, don’t overdo it. Reassure them that they are not to blame and that the reason for divorce was something between mom and dad alone. Pick something that they will understand, something not related to them, and they may begin to see that they have nothing to do with your squabbles as adults. That is the hope, at any rate, so keep kids off the battlefield for their own good – and often yours as well!