Columbus Ohio Divorce Attorneys
Is Your Child Sabotaging Your Divorce Negotiations?
The mental health of children is one of the primary concerns of parents going through a divorce. Communicating with your children and helping them cope with a stressful process is important, but it is possible that your children may begin interfering with your divorce. During your divorce, recognizing the signs of interference from your children can help you determine whether or not your children are sabotaging your divorce negotiations.
Movies like The Parent Trap make children reuniting divorced parents seem fun when in reality, children working against your divorce often create more heartache than it solves.
Are They Spying for Your Spouse?
Even though keeping children out of the middle of your relationship is one of the first rules of divorce, it is possible that your spouse will ignore that courtesy for expediency. Obtaining information about you and your personal or legal plans can help your spouse get the divorce settlement that he or she desires, sabotaging your case. If your child is eager to please the other parent, desperate to do what he or she thinks will stop the divorce, or angry and looking for ways to lash out at you, then he or she may tell the other parent everything you are doing.
Are They Trying to Make You Do Things Out of Guilt?
Children of any age who are angry about a divorce may start using their parents’ concern or guilt against them. Children may start out by using guilt to stay up later, watch movies they previously were not allowed to see, or get food and toys they otherwise might be denied. As time goes by, the requests may become more unreasonable and if humored, it is possible that your children may begin demanding that you reconcile with your spouse.
Not only does using guilt against you cause problems during a divorce, after the divorce is finalized, but the pattern of making guilt-based demands can also negatively impact you by sabotaging your future relationships and the health of your parent-child dynamic.
Are They Actively Seeking Ways to Stop Your Divorce?
Older children and adult children may start trying to find ways to stop your divorce in its tracks, often failing to understand how delays can affect you emotionally or financially. While it is normal for your children to give their opinions on your divorce and talk to you or your spouse about their feelings, trying to stop your divorce crosses many boundaries.
In an effort to stop or delay your divorce, your children may try to contact your attorney, the judge hearing the case, or appeal to a therapist or counselor. Some children may even appeal to friends and relatives for help using social media, further complicating your divorce.
Discuss Your Concerns
Parents who are going through a divorce are often unsure about discussing their concerns with individuals outside of the marriage or relationship. That is understandable, but it is important to remember that the relationship between a divorce attorney and a client is unique. Discussing your concerns with your attorney can help you determine possible solutions and keep your attorney aware of any developments that could impact his or her ability to represent you.
Why You Should Discuss Your Divorce with Your Child
Deciding to get a divorce is a choice that many adults struggle with for months or years. No matter how difficult the relationship has become, it is not unusual for a couple to attempt to work through their issues, especially if a child is involved. Once the situation reaches a point at which divorce is inevitable, it is important for both parents to talk to their children.
Unfortunately, parents often avoid directly talking to their children about getting a divorce. Some parents are uncomfortable about discussing their relationship with their children while others assume that their children already know about the divorce. Understanding how much simply talking to your children prior to the divorce can help them may encourage you to do so, even when you might not want to.
Studies have shown that children remember when they were told about an impending divorce. No matter how long ago a divorce took place, the memory stays fresh, illustrating how much of a psychological and emotional impact the news has on a child. Since children remember being told about divorce, it is important that parents control the way the information is delivered.
Failing to actually talk to your children about the divorce creates a situation in which the child may find out about the divorce through a friend, other family members, or by overhearing something. Even if your children forget some of the circumstances surrounding your divorce or marriage, they are very likely going to remember when they found out about the divorce and how they were told.
The age of a child can also impact how he or she receives the information about the divorce and how that child will later interpret it. A child who is not able to understand complexity is very dependent upon their parents for care and is not able to truly verbalize feelings may show his or her distress in other ways.
Children who are 5 years old or younger experience anxiety, anger, and experience developmental regressions. Some small children may blame themselves for the divorce, making it important to talk to children and reassure them. Patience and communication help your children understand and cope with the major life change.
Helps Keep Things Simple
Beginning the divorce process and talking to your children sporadically makes the entire process of explaining the situation more complicated than it needs to be. Regardless of the age of your children, a simple discussion with a clear message is often best. Older children who are probably not surprised will still be reassured by having their suspicions confirmed in a concise way.
Telling your children that their parents will be happier living in separate homes while remaining a stable part of their lives can ease some of their unconscious anxiety and help them prepare for the transition process.
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