The Emotional Effects of A Bad Marriage on Children Should Not Be Ignored when Parents Contemplate Divorce
You probably already know that a divorce is an emotional roller coaster for a married couple. The parties generally prepare themselves by meeting with attorneys and gathering the financial information they will need once proceedings are begun. What is frequently missing from the preparations is an assessment of the impact the marital difficulties of the parents might be having on the children.
A psychiatrist has cautioned parents to take the time to observe any changes in the behavior of their children that might signal problems in coping with the conflict going on between mom and dad. Some of the telltale signs the doctor suggested parents watch out for include:
Becoming withdrawn and unusually quiet: Mommy and daddy might be the ones fighting, but children take it as a sign that they must have done something wrong to trigger such a reaction in their parents.
Loss of interest in playing or socializing: These could be signs of depression brought on as a reaction to the breakup of the family unit. Younger children may be even more affected by a divorce because they are unable to comprehend what happens once their parents are no longer together.
Having academic or disciplinary problems at school: Children manifest their feelings and emotions in ways that are different from those of adults. Loss of interest in school or acting out inappropriately may be signs of rebellion against what they perceive as happening to the relationship between their parents.
Helping your children through the pre-divorce conflicts going on in the home takes time and effort. Your focus might be on preparing yourself for the divorce, but preparing your children for the changes that a divorce introduces into their lives is equally as important.
Some of the steps you can take to neutralize some of the impact of a divorce on your children include:
Cooperate with your spouse to avoid conflicts in front of the children. When arguments do occur, you and your spouse must take time to explain to the children that when mommy and daddy disagree it is not because of anything the children said or did.
Explain divorce to the children without placing blame for the breakup. Reassure your children that you and your spouse will be there for them even if you are no longer living together. Let them know that your relationship with them will not change even if the family is not together as it had always been.
Keep the children out of the divorce. Custody, visitation and child support are fundamental issues in a divorce, but children should not be used as by trying to turn them against the other parent.
Be consistent with discipline. Regardless of your feelings toward your soon-to-be former spouse, it is important for the two of you to be on the same page when it comes to discipline.
Nashville divorce attorney Tiffany Johns of Middle Tennessee Family Law is a skilled and knowledgeable family law and divorce attorney who puts her experience to work on behalf of clients contemplating a divorce. Her compassionate, client-focused representation takes into consideration the emotional stress that can accompany the breakup of a marriage. Contact us today to schedule a free initial consultation by calling us. You can also reach us by email through our website.