Emily Chambers for CoilLaw
You may not think your divorce is affecting your child all that much (“MY child is resilient!”), but children are amazingly perceptive about their parents and their behaviors. They may put on a happy face while secretly worrying about their parents’ issues if they are allowed to hear and see too much during a divorce.
It’s natural for parents to want to blow off steam about their ex in front of their child, but think about it: If your child grows up learning to distrust their mother or father, or think about them in terms such as loser, deadbeat, cheater, crook, or liar, how will they end up thinking about other people and relationships when they are adults? Many children of parents who were volatile and used the children for their personal sounding board during their divorce wind up having commitment or trust issues in their adult relationships.
Here are 5 tips of what not to do to your child during divorce:
1. Don’t use your child as a delivery service between you and your ex spouse.
Try to keep them out of the process as much as possible and never use them to transport money, forms, or other documents pertaining to the divorce between you and your ex.
2. Don’t use your child as a friend or counselor during your divorce.
You need adults to help you emotionally through a divorce and your child needs to be a child. Find a peer, therapist, support group, or adult family member for you to talk to about the divorce and your emotional needs and let your kids be kids.
3. Don’t speak about your ex in negative ways in front of your child.
This might be one of the hardest things to do, but it may have a drastic long-term effect on your child. Studies have shown that when parents are visibly angry and hostile through and following a divorce, their children often end up with emotional and behavioral issues into adulthood.
4. Don’t ask your child to pick sides or to keep secrets from the other parent.
This puts a lot of emotional trauma on a child. Barring a few exceptions, it is healthy for a child to love both of their parents, and it can be very damaging for them to feel like they have to choose. Children are capable of being able to love both parents in a divorce and should be allowed to do just that.
5. Don’t use your child to “punish” your ex.
If you restrict your child’s parent time with their other parent because you are annoyed at something your ex did, it also punishes the child, not to mention that it could get you in legal trouble if you are in contempt of a court order by doing so. You need to separate the spouse relationship (and your relationship with him/her) from the parental relationship they have with your child.
Think About Hiring a Utah Divorce Attorney
Navigating a divorce and how to keep your children removed from it can be complicated. You need to ensure you consult with a competent family law attorney that understands both the struggles of adults and children during a divorce. At CoilLaw, LLC, Salt Lake City Divorce attorney Jill Coil knows how to advise you during a divorce to help you achieve the best settlement and/or result possible. At CoilLaw we are ready and available to help you through your legal action. If you need legal advice concerning a Utah family law issue, call Jill Coil at CoilLaw LLC in Utah at (801) 939-6027 today.