Divorce: Tips on Conflict and Your Children

Some divorces result in conflict which affects the children involved in the family. Parental conflict in a family may be high where the parents are going through a separation, living separate and apart under the same roof or working through conflict during divorce. This article will discuss some tips to use in respect of conflict that arises during separation and the divorce process.

It is no surprise that while both parents may feel very strongly in respect of the opinion they are expressing during conflict, the emotional health and wellbeing of their children is directly affected. One of the key factors that comes into play is the type of personalities of the spouses and the norms of the family they grew up in. As a result some spouses may have difficulty holding themselves back from an argument which can result in mudslinging, name-calling and other forms of verbal attacks. While each parent may have a perfectly rational reason for the position that they are defending, the problem is that the parent’s battling it out risks their children being affected by emotional harm that will impact their lives now and in the future.

In order to protect your children when you are in the middle of conflict with your spouse, take the following suggestions into consideration:

  • Make a mutual commitment to behavior change – by committing yourself to this each parent is acknowledging the problem is real. Both parents are committing each other to protecting their children. This commitment can be written down as in agreement, providing strategies and it must be dated and signed.
  • Get professional advice – in most cases people resist the idea of having family professionals involved and their personal affairs. To some it is seen as a sign of weakness or mental health issues. Such help can include enlisting the services of a mediator especially during the separation period that involves living separate and apart but under the same roof. Professionals are trained to help people overcome emotional struggles and to diagnose healthy emotional responses and communication patterns. By getting help you may be able to apply and change your communication skills.
  • Physically separate the children from the conflict – when all else fails and conflict or an argument is inevitable each parent must be mindful of protecting their children. Mutually agree that you will keep your voices low and go to another room. Others have found that you can get a babysitter and pick the dispute away from home.
  • Agree to disagree – there are some issues you may honesty disagree on due to having various viewpoints. When conflict leads it is best to define a course of action and improve it and this can be done by getting help. The key is therefore in how to handle the conflict process. If you and your spouse cannot agree on a course of action and the conflict results in a shouting match, recognise the issues and seek out a third party’s opinion you both respect.

If you are able to work together on issues that arise you can draw up a separation agreement Ontario.

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