The various courtrooms in existence across the United States see their fair share of the worst parts of human nature. Hatred, jealousy, vengeance, and others of these destructive emotions are the cause of most matters presented in court at all. Although these emotions are present in most proceedings, no criminal or civil trial has as much potential hate and anger as average divorce cases. When children are involved though, it is the responsibility of parents that are divorcing to rise above the negative emotions and act in a way that will not leave a lasting negative impression on a young mind. Here are some of the most vital divorce do’s and don’ts when children are involved.
- Don’t Badmouth Your Former Spouse: It might be tempting to slander every single aspect of your ex’s character to anyone that will listen. It also is a natural impulse to want your children to be on your side. Impulse must be the end of it, however, for every insult you utter against your ex is an unprovoked attack against their father or mother. Not only is this all emotionally scarring for your child, the effects on you will be negative as well. Children with one parent that insults the other after dissolution of a marriage overwhelmingly display a stronger bond with the parent that kept their mouth shut.
- Do Love Your Child or Children More Than You Hate Each Other: With the exception of situations of abuse, any person you have a child will at least be in the periphery of your life until the end of your life. That is potentially a very long time to hate the person who gave you the most important parts of your life. Its time to stop being the ex and start being Mom and Dad.
- Don’t withhold visitation because of unpaid child support: First, legally, ethically and factually, visitation and child support are seperate, unrelated issues. This does not mean that the issue of child support is not important, only that it does not justify punishing your children by taking away their other parent
- Do Show Your Child That It Is Okay to Love Both Parents: Except in the case of a victim of domestic violence or any other form of abuse, parents should openly encourage visitation and treat their co-Parent with respect.
- Don’t Ask Your Child To Spy: The entire circus of divorce cases traumatizes children from the moment they begin. Imagine the additional emotional scarring that will be caused by their confused feelings of guilt and discomfort at this incredibly inappropriate type of request.
- Do Listen to Your Child: The best way to help your child process the events and circumstances of your divorce is to encourage open communication. Allow them to tell you all of their feelings, even if one of those feelings is anger at you and your ex. Show them they are loved and have value by taking the time to let them talk.
In reality, parents who engage in healthy practices still attempt to work as a team to raise well adjusted people. Sometimes they will manage it better than others, and that is natural for all human interaction, not just in the adjustment after divorce cases. The important part is tryin to do things right for the ones that matter most: your children.