What do kids need during a high conflict divorce?

December 17, 2023by Family Court Corner0

Divorce is a challenging and emotional process for everyone involved, especially when children are in the picture. High-conflict divorces can be particularly tough on kids, as they are often caught in the crossfire between their parents’ disagreements and tension. During this difficult time, it is essential to prioritize the needs of children and provide them with the necessary support and care to help them navigate their way through the divorce process. 

Stability and routine are essential during a high-conflict divorce, as one of the most important things kids need during this challenging time is stability. The upheaval caused by the separation of their parents can be incredibly unsettling for children. Establishing a consistent routine can provide them with a sense of security and normalcy amidst the chaos. Maintaining familiar schedules for meals, bedtimes, and extracurricular activities can help children feel grounded and provide them with a sense of stability during this uncertain time. 

Open communication is crucial as children often struggle to understand the changes happening around them during a divorce. It is of utmost importance to maintain open lines of age-appropriate communication. Foster an environment where children feel comfortable posing questions and articulating their emotions, and empower them to navigate those emotions, without adding your opinions or judgements. Assuring them that their thoughts and feelings are valid and that you are there to listen and support them, can help ease their anxiety and confusion. 

Emotional support is crucial as divorce can be an overwhelming experience for children, and they may have a range of emotions such as sadness, anger, guilt, or fear. It’s important to create a safe space where they can express their feelings without judgment. Encourage them to talk about their emotions and validate them. Additionally, consider seeking professional help through therapists or support groups to provide children with the necessary emotional support during this challenging time. 

Co-parenting collaboration is crucial in high-conflict divorces, where persistent conflicts and differences between parents are not uncommon. However, it is crucial to prioritize co-parenting collaboration and put aside personal differences for the sake of the children. Regardless of the other parent’s consistent attempts at counter-parenting, your focus should remain on sustaining a pattern of consistent and respectful communication to the adverse effects of the divorce on the children. Children benefit when at least one parent is actively focused on de-escalating conflict. 

Consistent boundaries and discipline are essential during a high-conflict divorce, as it’s important to establish consistent boundaries and discipline strategies for children. Consistency between both households is often not possible in high conflict divorces, but consistency in your home is still crucial for your children to have a safe place to land when they return home from the other parent.  This consistency can help children understand expectations and maintain a sense of stability, even in the midst of the divorce. 

Shielding children from conflict is crucial, and while it may be challenging, it’s important to shield children from the conflict between parents as much as possible. Witnessing constant arguments and tension can have a detrimental impact on their emotional well-being. Avoid involving children in adult discussions or using them as messengers between parents. Instead, focus on creating a positive and supportive environment that allows children to thrive, free from the burden of their parents’ conflicts. 

Reassurance of love and support is essential, as children going through a high-conflict divorce may question their own worth and feel responsible for their parents’ separation. Reassure them that the divorce is not their fault and that they are loved unconditionally. Provide them with consistent displays of affection, support, and encouragement. Remind them that no matter what happens between the parents, their well-being and happiness remain a top priority. 

Children going through a high-conflict divorce need stability, open communication, emotional support, consistent boundaries, protection from conflict, and reassurance of love and support. By prioritizing their needs and ensuring their well-being, parents can help children navigate the challenges of divorce and emerge stronger and more resilient. Remember, your children are counting on you to provide them with the care and support they need during this difficult time. 

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    Copyright 2020 – 2024. Family Court Corner Inc. All rights reserved.