As you and your children’s other parent navigate the process of unraveling your romantic relationship, sometimes the last thing you want to do is talk to them. In fact, if you could, you might prefer to have nothing to do with them again. It can often be really tempting to find a way to try and lash out at them through anger and frustration when you’re in this mindset.
The unfortunate fact is that children sometimes find themselves stuck in the middle of their parents’ feelings. They find themselves in a position of playing go-between and as a sounding board for you to talk negatively about each other. While this is usually inadvertent and unintentional, it can have serious negative effects on your children’s well-being.
It has the potential to harm their self-esteem
It can be very difficult to be in the presence of parents who are constantly arguing with each other. Listening to detrimental things about a parent (a person whom you love and look up to) can have a damaging effect on your child’s self-esteem and self-worth.
For children, it’s really hard for them to hear the critical things you’re saying and not feel like they must also apply to them too. They can even start to question whether the divorce is their fault and if there was anything they could have done to prevent it.
They may feel like they need to pick a side
When young children first begin to move between their parents’ dual households, it can be particularly challenging for them to understand what is happening. A child might feel like they must choose a side, especially when one parent continues to criticize the other. Children who develop resentment towards one or both of their parents during their teen and young adult years can also suffer long-lasting repercussions as a result.
The process of divorce can bring up some very difficult feelings, in addition to being a financially and mentally challenging process. Understanding your legal rights can help you to make sure you’re protecting the best interests of yourself and your children and adopting a future-focused mindset when it comes to co-parenting.