When married couples can no longer get along, they may consider divorce. However, the decision of whether or not to divorce can be complicated, especially when there are children involved.
Divorce is complex enough when there are no children involved. The parties can simply go their separate ways. But when there are children, there comes a point when the parents may wonder: should they stay or should they go?
Many couples stay together for the children, but is this really a good idea? Should you wait until your child gets older or moves out? If you are a parent, you may want to know that children wish their parents would have handled the divorce differently.
One common theme is that people often wish their parents would have divorced earlier and not waited so long. That is because it is not divorce that harms children but the conflict between their parents.
Children are more resilient than people think. Children can handle divorce, especially when parents prioritize their children’s needs for a peaceful relationship. What they cannot handle is conflict and badmouthing of the other parent.
Parents often try their best, but they are not perfect. When they file for divorce, they do not know what to do or say. It is a tough situation that they are trying to navigate. They are worried about their own lives. Having to worry about children, too, can be overwhelming.
Parents make mistakes, and sometimes these mistakes harm children for a long time. Here are some things children wish their divorced parents would have done differently.
Not Leaving Suddenly
In many cases, after a divorce, one parent (typically the father) will take off suddenly. They may come back later, but that could be many months or years down the road. This often creates trust issues, especially in young children who rely on their parents to bring them stability.
Not Moving So Far Away
What also tends to happen after a divorce is that one parent moves out of state. The parent may be in an adjacent state or way across the country. This can lead to complications when it comes to custody. The child stays with one parent most of the time and may only see the other parent during the summer.
Not Fighting So Much
Children model what they see, and constant arguing can lead to emotional scars. If all they see is their parents fighting, then they are going to think that kind of behavior is OK. They will not know how to properly communicate with others. In some cases, it keeps people from having romantic relationships. They will learn to ignore problems and not discuss issues with others because they are afraid of possible arguments.
Not Using Them as Pawns
Children are often used as leverage in divorce cases. They are often forced to choose sides and tell the court which parent they love more. They are used and bribed by their parents. They have to deal with badmouthing and blaming by both parents. It’s an awkward situation to be put in.
Not Ignoring Their Children
On the other end of the spectrum, some children get ignored altogether. The parents focus on their own needs during and after a divorce. They may also focus on hurting each other out of spite and revenge. The children end up raising themselves and struggle as they grieve the divorce themselves. Some parents think only about themselves and their newfound freedom. They may move on to new relationships quickly, leaving their children to deal with their emotions on their own.
Not Treating Kids as Therapists
A divorce is a major life event, and parents need help getting through it. However, they should vent to friends or adult loved ones, not their own children. Kids are already stressed out by the divorce. They should not be caught in the middle of all the drama. If you need extra support during this time, it is best to talk things over with a neutral third party, such as a therapist.
Not Introducing New Partners Too Soon
Most people want to date again after a divorce. However, they often do not know how to do it the right way. Some people want to introduce their children to every person they date (spoiler alert: this is not the ideal thing to do). It is best to be in a serious relationship before bringing home people to meet the kids. Children often get attached to people easily, and it can be hurtful when a partner suddenly does not come around anymore. Only when you are in a long-term relationship should you introduce your kids to partners.
Not Refusing to Be Civil
You do not have to be best friends with your ex, but you should at least be cordial. You should also be on speaking terms. Having to use a child as a go-between or not being able to be in the same room as an ex is a little too extreme, especially when children are involved. Be an adult about your divorce. Playing childish games only makes things harder on the kids. They are the ones who have to adjust to holidays and family get-togethers as they become adults, and it can be frustrating, to say the least.
Seek Legal Help
Divorce is a complex topic. When a couple divorces and there are children involved, it can be hard to determine what to do next. Some parents leave without saying goodbye, causing trust issues.
Count on Broward County divorce attorney Scott J. Stadler to make post-divorce life easier for you and your children. To schedule a consultation with our office, fill out the online form or call (954) 346-6464.