No matter how polite and civil a couple is to each other during a separation, the divorce proceedings can still have a negative impact on the children. If there is domestic violence involved, and the children have witnessed it, or even witnessed their parents arguing with each other, children naturally become anxious and are concerned about their own welfare.
Questions Children Have When Parents are Divorcing
Children have legitimate concerns about how different their lives will be after mom and dad divorce. Some questions they want to be answered include:
- Will I have to move?
- Who will I live with?
- Will I have to change schools?
- Can I still play after-school sports? Take music lessons? Take ballet lessons? Have my friends over?
These are only a few examples and the possibilities from a child’s point of view could be endless. Children also wonder if they did something to cause the divorce. It is important for divorcing parents to answer their children’s questions honestly and assure their kids that they did nothing wrong.
Parents should each avoid talking negatively about the other parent in front of the children. This could be a big burden on a child. This also alienated the child from the other parent which could become a hindrance in co-parenting.
When Domestic Violence is Involved
Children are severely traumatized when they hear their parents yell at each other and particularly when they witness one parent hitting the other. They carry around this hurt, this wound, and it affects their lives.
When tension arises, couples should avoid raising their voices. It is wise for one parent to leave to allow for a cooling off period until it’s easier to talk with each other again, and therapy is always a good option.
Resolving Issues Peacefully Lessens the Impact on Children
Parents need to work together to resolve their issues peacefully outside the presence of their children. Children need to feel secure and cared for and that their needs are being met. It’s important for children that parents remain the same parents they have always known and that Mom and Dad will continue to take care of them.
One way to do this is through Collaborative Divorce or Mediation. The Collaborative Divorce team helps parents to guide them to peaceful solutions. A peaceful divorce is extremely beneficial to children and can make a huge difference in their future.