Raising Children in the Midst of Divorce Children are the most innocent victims of divorce. They become of the center of battles over child custody, support and visitation. Divorce changes their lifestyle, because they now have to share their time between mom and dad and have to deal with everyday stresses of the parents.
Because each child reacts differently, you might sometimes question your abilities as a parent. If your ex is always picking on you and finding fault, this can reduce your self-confidence as a parent. Talking to others going through the same situation can help regain your bearing, plus give you different ways to deal with the inevitable stress that is upon you.
Helping children cope is important because children model future behavior on current experiences. If possible, both parents should tell the children about the divorce and emphasize that both parents made this decision. Stress that it is not the fault of the children and they did nothing to cause the situation. Do not provide details that can be too much for young children to understand.
If they will be living in a different location, they need to know where, what school they will attend and when they will be visited by the other parent. The more information you can provide, the more comfortable they will feel with the changes taking place. Don’t let them make the decision of where to live, it is up to you and your spouse.
No matter what happens, always stay positive about the other parent. Children need both parents. Just because your spouse was not a good spouse to you, does not mean that she/he is not a good parent for her/his child. Your job is to foster a healthy relationship.
If the divorce severs the relationship between a child and one of the parents, do not say bad things about the parent. Help your child find ways to make sense of the situation. Dad is sick right now and needs to go to the hospital to get well. Even though he can’t be there for you right now, know that he loves you. This is code for dad is an alcoholic and is in the hospital. The older the child gets, the more detailed your answers can become. Try to stay neutral and help your child understand that the other parent cares.
Children become quite emotional during this time and it is necessary to provide them with your attention and with the answers they are seeking. They may become withdrawn and lose interest in hobbies, school and friends. Your encouragement is what they need to stay on track.
The break down of a family requires a major adjustment, but, with time, it can all work out. Drawing upon the supports we need and re-establishing our typical routines can speed up the process quite a bit. Try not to use the children as your support group. Find the support of other adults. And, when you do start dating again, do not introduce the children to your date until you are committed to that person.
Struggling with the choices you are making while raising children in the midst of a divorce? Help is available. Call today and speak with a counselor at the Center for Growth / Relationship Therapy in Philadelphia. 267-324-9564.
Remember fighting about children in the midst of a divorce is common. Common reasons divorced parents fight include:
- Custody and Visitation: One of the most common reasons for conflicts between divorced parents is disagreements over custody and visitation arrangements. Parents may disagree over how much time each parent should have with the children, where the children should live, or how decisions about the children should be made.
- Financial Issues: Money can be a major source of tension between divorced parents, particularly when it comes to issues related to child support or paying for the children's expenses. Parents may disagree over who should pay for what, or how much one parent should contribute financially.
- Different Parenting Styles: Divorced parents may have different ideas about how to raise their children, which can lead to conflicts. For example, one parent may be more strict, while the other parent may be more lenient. This can create tension and disagreements over discipline, rules, and expectations.
- Remarriage/ New partners: When one or both parents remarry or enter new relationships, it can create conflicts over how the new partner interacts with the children, and how much time the children spend with the new partner.
- Unresolved feelings: Divorce can be an emotional process and many parents may still have unresolved feelings about the end of their marriage. These feelings can affect their ability to communicate and cooperate with their ex-spouse, leading to conflicts over the children.
- Lack of communication: Communication is key, but when parents are not able to communicate effectively, it can make it difficult to make decisions and solve problems related to the children.
It's important to remember that conflicts between divorced parents can have a negative impact on the children, so it's essential for parents to find ways to resolve conflicts and work together in the best interests of their children.
"Over the top" fights, also known as high-conflict disputes, are characterized by intense and frequent arguments and hostility. These types of fights can be emotionally and mentally draining for all parties involved, and can have a negative impact on the relationship or situation. Some causes of over the top fights include:
- Unresolved issues: When past issues or unresolved conflicts are not addressed, they can lead to explosive fights in the present.
- Lack of communication: Poor communication, or a lack of ability to listen and understand each other's perspectives, can lead to misunderstandings and arguments.
- Difficulty in dealing with emotions: Some people may have difficulty managing their emotions, and may react in an extreme or aggressive way when feeling upset or angry.
- Power struggles: When both parties are trying to assert their dominance or control over a situation, it can lead to power struggles and intense fights.
- Personality differences: Certain personality types may be more prone to conflict or may have difficulty compromising, which can lead to over the top fights.
- Substance abuse: Alcohol or drug abuse can make it more difficult to control emotions and can lead to more intense fights.
- Trauma: Trauma can cause individuals to react in extreme ways and can lead to over the top fights.
It's important to seek help and guidance if you find yourself in a pattern of over the top fights. It's possible to work on communication, understanding each other and manage emotions to reduce the likelihood of these types of fights.