How To Keep Your Kids Out Of The Crossfire Between You And Your Ex

Emotional Tug O’ War

 Tug o' War.jpg

A common thing you’ll hear among parents who have gone through family court say is that they’ll never put their kids through something like that again or that the children can easily get tangled up in the mess. It can be hard to separate the children from the issue at hand because the children are the issue. So how do you separate the issues you’re having with your ex or the court from your kids? Like most of life’s questions, the answer isn’t necessarily simple. There are ways to avoid putting them in the middle of things while maintaining a relationship with them while at the same time not keeping them in the dark about what’s going on. Kids get curious about what’s going on around them, not letting them know what’s going on, pretending that nothing is wrong etc. isn’t necessarily the best option to take. Here are some strategies you can use in your own case if you’re having trouble maintaining your grasp on things.

Don’t Keep Anyone In The Dark. The best way to keep everyone from getting the wrong idea about the issue at hand is to employ a strategy called full disclosure. Essentially, you tell them exactly what’s going on, why it’s happening and what’s going to happen when it’s over, novel idea eh? There are ways to let your kids in on the situation without scaring them or having the events taking place affect them emotionally. If your child is asking you why you and their mom are fighting so much, why you were angry on the phone the other day or why you’ve been gone so much (due to mediation hearings or what have you), it might be a good idea to sit them down and let them know what’s happening in a way that makes them feel that they don’t have to worry, that it’s nothing they’re responsible for and that you and the other parent care for them unconditionally. A lot of children get it into their heads, especially young children, that they had some part to play in you two splitting up or fighting; they don’t grasp the concept of how things work yet and their mind misinterprets stuff like this. Kids that are closer to the teen years can take something like this with some difficulty as well. Older kids may tend to act out, rebel, display uncharacteristic behavior or seem depressed; and rightly so, they’re parents’ relationship is on the outs and they don’t really know what to do with themselves.

The entire family is affected by this, not just you and your ex. You guys might need to all come together, setting aside your differences, and discussing what’s going on with the family and how things might change. For children, their entire world is changing. It’s not uncommon for families to go through some kind of counseling during difficult times like this. A lot of emotions that you never thought were there can come up during these kinds of therapeutic session and this can occur on both sides. You might even be surprised by the emotions that your children display. For instance a child that is normally very mellow and complacent can easily show brief episodes of anger and throw a toy on the ground when prompted to speak about one of their parents as the family is un upheaval. It’s all a process though folks. You can’t flip a switch and we’re all learning how to deal with this stuff on our spinning blue marble in space. The relationships we have within our family are the most important aspects of our lives and it’s important to do what is necessary to strengthen those bonds.

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Posted in A Childs Best Interests, Children, Divorce, Family Court, Healthy Living, Parenting Tips, Raising Children, Relationships, Single Parenting, Stepparenting

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