If you and your spouse are divorcing, your children have likely already witnessed some parental conflict in your home. Now that you’re co-parenting across two homes, you’re probably more cognizant of the impact of parental conflict on your kids. You’ve heard about the negative impacts on kids’ lives, well into adulthood.
No matter how hard you try, you probably can’t completely avoid having some kind of disagreement in front of your kids. However, the way in which you handle it can make a big difference in how it affects your children.
For example, it’s important to remain calm throughout the disagreement. Yelling, name-calling and hurling insults can be harmful. Certainly, any kind of physical aggression is not acceptable.
It’s important for children to be able to see their parents work together to resolve a disagreement or solve a problem. This can help them learn how to resolve conflicts in their own lives as they get older and to work effectively with people whom they may not like or see eye-to-eye with.
While raised voices aren’t good, neither is the silent treatment. When you decide not to speak to each other instead of resolving your issue, you’re simply extending the disagreement. That doesn’t teach your children good problem-solving skills. Having parents ignore each other or stare at each other in stony silence when they have to be together isn’t pleasant for any child.
Any conflict that’s about your kids should be handled away from them. Kids can easily take on guilt for their parents’ problems — particularly when they feel like they are the cause of them.
If you and your co-parent are in constant conflict, perhaps it’s because there are matters that aren’t adequately detailed in your child custody or other agreements. Lack of specificity can lead to misunderstandings and confusion. If you believe that modifications to your agreements would improve your co-parenting relationship, it may be a good idea to talk with your family law attorney.