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Ensuring children come first throughout a divorce

Ensuring children come first throughout a divorce

Divorce is a difficult time for the couple involved but it can be equally as harmful for the children. Children exposed to frequent parental conflict are most at risk of depression, anxiety, behavioural issues, physical health issues and problems at school. All of this has a knock-on effect into adulthood (e.g. employment, mental health and relationships).

Despite the evidence that parental conflict is harmful for children, social awareness of the negative effects is low. It is common to hear amongst separating couples: “We don’t argue in front of the kids” or “we don’t involve the kids in arguments”. This does not mean that they are not aware of the conflict. A ‘positive separation’ goes further than these statements – the following tips from Resolution should be borne in mind:

  • Communication – explain to your child what is happening. Reassure them that they are allowed to have and show emotion. Keep the language simple and age appropriate.
  • Put on a united front – both parents should talk about it together with the child. Be honest and realistic about the changes that the child will see such as having two homes, and shared contact.
  • Address any anger – some children may have trouble dealing with their emotions. Be firm if this is shown as anger in a negative or harmful way and make sure there are consequences.
  • Help your children by helping yourself – You can only do the best for your child if you are okay yourself. Seek professional help if necessary.
  • Parenting after parting – the child will likely still want you both in their lives, especially during important milestones. Don’t bring them into fights or make them choose between you. Work together to avoid a negative atmosphere for your child’s sake.

If you’d like advice or assistance with a divorce or child arrangements issues, Kuits Family Team are here to help.