Now that you’ve read part 1 of this 3-part series, KEEP READING because divorce is challenging and cannot be addressed in one blog. Even “amicable” divorces can be difficult to navigate. In high-conflict divorces, tensions are high, and the gloves come off, but it’s your child that suffers most because of the continued animosity between you and your child’s other parent. Using your child as a pawn is undermining and manipulative behavior that puts children into a dangerous psychological tailspin. Control your emotions purposefully and model your emotional management skills for your kids.
DON’T USE YOUR CHILD AS A PAWN
Listen up parents, your children are not a negotiation tool. You may not realize you are putting your child in the middle, but it is an all-too-common occurrence. Can you identify with any of these damaging divorce behaviors?
The Blame Game
There’s a dangerous pronoun in divorce – ‘Your’.
“Your father did this to me.” “Your father is a cheater.”
“Your mother told this lie.” “Your mother gave up.”
The problem with ‘your’ is it’s possessive. You have shifted the blame to include your child. Airing your grievances to them is selfish and hurtful. Your child is half you and half the other parent. When you speak against your spouse you are putting your child down as well. Hold your tongue and save the venting for your inner circle.
You do not need to buy your child’s love. Do everyone a favor and skip the special treats, the new puppy, and the randomly purchased gifts given with intention of buying their love. These behaviors teach children how to manipulate others, deceive, and use material things to get what they want.
Who Do You Like Best
Are you really expecting your child to pick one parent over the other? Did you really ask them to say who they want to live with? Children caught in a contentious divorce often feel pressure to choose, and you might be surprised to find that putting this decision on them will only make them resent you.
If your soon-to-be ex wants to go on vacation will you manipulate your schedule to prevent it? Do you alienate your children from your former in-laws and relatives? You may think your actions are only hurting your ex, but the reality is that you are punishing your kids as well.
CREATING AN INTENSE HOME ENVIRONMENT
Divorce is difficult for children, and your behavior will impact their physical and mental well-being. Let me ask this, are you guilty of any of these behaviors in front of your child?
- Arguing with your spouse
- Spousal silent treatment
- Discussing adult matters
- Physical altercations
- Needlessly calling the police (the lowest of the low!)
Children dealing with a tense home environment due to parents going through a divorce can lead to:
- Depression, social withdrawal, regression
- Troubles concentrating in school
- Anger, bullying, defiance
- Loss of sleep or sleeping too much
- Inability to handle conflict
- Physical pain from anxiety or stress
Children with positive co-parents experience less depression and anxiety. Manage your intentions and your emotions. Your sole focus during the divorce should be your child’s best welfare. Be a team with a superpower for good, not a team set on being destroyed by divorce. An empowered parent raises empowered children.
At The Law Firm of Poppe & Associates, our focus is relentless advocacy for our clients. If you or someone you know is considering divorce, reach out to schedule a consultation: (212) 792-9501.
Mia Poppe, Esq.
Are you considering divorce and think mediation may be the right option for you and your family? Contact the Law Firm of Poppe & Associates today to schedule a consultation to talk with an attorney about whether mediation or litigation is the right fit for your situation.