Divorce can bring out frustrations and emotions in everyone involved, but the stakes get even higher when children are involved. Not only do divorcing couples in Florida and nationally sometimes use their children as pawns in their conflict and often battle over custody and visitation rights, but the children themselves can also suffer compounded emotional grief from divorces that turn ugly.
Divorce experts note that children are often more aware of their parents’ behaviors than the parents themselves might like to think. Children also have preferences as to how they’d like to see their parents handle the divorce.
A recent survey of children between the ages of 10 and 12 in families going through a divorce found several trends in regards to what children want from their divorcing parents. Although the survey was not scientific, it nonetheless underscores the importance of parents remaining aware of their words and actions where children are involved.
The study compiled a list of “rules” children would like to see their parents abide by. The top rule: Don’t bad-mouth the other parent. Talking to your children negatively about the other parent can stir up tension and anxiety between the children and both of their parents, making them feel less comfortable expressing their feelings and potentially damaging your relationship with them.
Children would also request that parents avoid using the children in arguments or as pawns in one parent’s effort to get what he or she wants from an ex-spouse or soon-to-be former partner. The kids would also prefer that parents leave children out of adult issues, such as money and assets, and let them maintain neutrality throughout the divorce proceedings.
Among many other desires, children of divorcing parents would also like to feel comfortable loving both parents equally.
Source: Huffington Post, “If your kids could make the rules of divorce” Kara Bishop, Dec. 29, 2011